One of the oldest and most deeply-rooted occupations in the Pyrenees is that of shepherd. This means that they are well represented in the museum. Transhumance, summertime in the mountains, winter jobs, fairs, herbal treatments and entertainment all take on a new life through the objects on display. Their long tradition of use made it easier for each generation to learn the complex occupation.
In the summer of 1923, the so-called Ripoll folklore group made a brief stay on the Anyella plain, which resulted in the publication of the book La vida dels pastors by Salvador Vilarrasa, and in better knowledge from then on of the songs, poems and rounds of the shepherds’ world. Men and sheepdogs watching flocks of thousands of sheep in the huge Pyrenean pastures amid solitude, danger of storms and sieges by wolves had made a legend out of a job that was also a deeply organised and hierarchical way of life.
In 1920, the ethnographer Rossend Serra i Pagès encouraged the collection of pieces of shepherds’ art as well as their stories and songs and insisted on the “absolute need to bring it all together because we will probably be the last who are able to do so, and it will be our legacy”.