y'all, please send virtual hugs to the Brazilian people tonight, who lost their entire national museum in a catastrophic fire. thousands of artifacts that date back thousands of years were lost, as well invaluable artworks from many cultures. this is a terrible loss for humanity.

as an anthropologist, artist and a lover of brazilian culture, and as someone who studied tupi, this loss is staggering and tremendous.

i do want to add that this fire not only destroyed the Paço de São Cristóvão, but also the oldest portions of the National Archive, which date back to the arrival of the Portuguese. Documents contained there included a copy of the 1492 Treaty of Tordesillas, the first and only extant copy of Língua Brasilica, a Roman Catholic manual of prayer in Old Tupi written by St José Anchieta, apostle of Brazil, and the Brazilian crown jewels.

Details are forthcoming--

Approximately 20 million artifacts were held in the Museu Nacional

These included:
-very ancient artifacts from many Latin American culture groups
-the earliest hominid in Brazil
-the earliest documents in Old Tupi, including many state letters to the Portuguese Crown
-the personal items of Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil
-musical works by Heitor Villa-Lobos
-the Brazilian Crown Jewels
-documentation related to Operation Condor and the US-backed coup d'état

@joe @Canageek Indeed. This puts the loss in the area of events like the burning of the Alexandria Library.

(Or, more personally, and modern, but also keenly felt, the two fires at the Glasgow School of Art - home of the MacIntosh style.)

This is mad. Plum awful, and a poisonous auspice. Shades of Bagdad and Palmyra.

I've heard of Tupi, and hence guess a bit of what this loss must mean for Brazil. Heaps condolences...

@joe I cannot get my head around this level of cultural devastation. My heart.


I had no idea that there was such a large and varied and invaluable collection in Rio (please excuse my ignorance). It's really heartbreaking and indeed a terrible loss for the Brazilian people and the whole of humankind.

wtf!? is there a war going on? did an airplane crash into it?

@joe yes, very sad. But please note, the cnet article title is misleading

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