“I had the ax in my house among my dearest souvenirs for a Little more than 27 years” says profesor Jorge Juan Lozano Ros.
The day he brought the Taino Petal ax to the editorial department – considered the oldest object the Hero had in his office in the USA – he gave the chance to the journalists to touch it with the pride of someone who keeps a very valuable object and with the wish of its energy accompains all us.
“I carry the request made by Gonzalo de Quesada y Michelsen, who gave it to me in 1980 in his home located in Paseo 656 and until now it has been my dearest talisman”, comented to the newspaper Professor Lozano, a specialist of the Office of the Program of Marti in Havana City.
The piece will be donated with the request that it can be exhibited at the Museum Birth House of José Martí in Old Havana.
The donor also explained that this valuable piece was used by Martí as paperweight in his offices at the 120 – 122 Front Street in Manhattan, New York, a place that later became the seat of the Delegation of the Cuban Revolutionary Party (PRC, after its initials in Spanish), while, at the same time, the publishing house of the Patria newspaper.
“This ax – cleared Lozano – is a work instrument and a combat weapon that belonged to the ancient Cuban agro – potter culture of our indigenous population and it was given by Fermín Valdés Domínguez to Martí the 28th of January of 1894 when the Maestro was getting 41 years old”.
“It was already time that the work object of Martí, made out of rock by one of our remote ancestors, belonged to all the Cubans”, confessed Lozano.
He added: “Having keep it for such a long time was a healthy pride for me, as it was also very proud to have had the revolver of the Hero a mambi (Cuban Independence fighters) gave it to him in 1868 and that is exhibited today at the Fragua Martiana Museum of Havana University”, indicated.
The ax – a solid and mysterious object, rounded on one end and sharp on the other – was obtained by Fermín Valdés Domínguez in Baracoa, when he was working as a doctor in that fabulous part of the Eastern Cuban geography, where he was doing at the same time, archaelogical researches about the taino cultura.
“The same day Martí received the gift from his soul brother – as he called Fermín once – he placed it in his working table of the stated New York office. Martí always used the ax as a paperweight and always caressed it because, he cofessed, “this way I touch Cuba”.
The idea that the ax must be exhibited in the Museum – House is because the working table is on exhibition at that Museum. It was there where the Swedish painter captured the image of Martí as a writer, thinker, lawyer and journalist.
“I know that the shiny souvenir belonged to the Hero due to the oral tradition of Gonzalo de Quesada y Aróstegui, his son and his grandson. Aróstegui, who was the sectretary of Martí, told that when he received the letter of Martí, considered his literary testament, the first of April 1895, he said:
“Out of the portraits of my office you should choose two of them and the other two to Benjamin (Guerra) and to Estrada (Palma), Wendell Phillips*”.
Aróstegui chose the one of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and the petal ax, the Hero had in the same table where he wrote his leters and articles for the Patria newspaper.
Source: Juventud Rebelde