jump to navigation

Bullfight Basics September 24, 2014

Posted by anagasto in art, bullfight, Spain.
trackback

.

Once you have seen a few fights you can tell a cowardly bull from a brave one, and even a calculating mean bull from a “noble” one: and “noble” in this context is one that does not calculate his risks……

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

goya_jumping across the bull's horns

There is always somebody presiding the corrida.

If the audience think that the bull, as he comes in, does not seem fit to fight because of a limp, they hold up a white hanky.

If the man who presides the fight sees that a large majority hold up their hankies, he will order the bull to be returned to the stables.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

rejoneo3

A bullfight where the torero fights on horseback is called rejoneo.

It is rare because it is very expensive and may have survived as part of an aristocratic tradition.

See it on Youtube:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnI-15kOicA

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

The Picador

picador

What you get to see at the beginning, a man on a horse and both heavily protected, is nothing.

It is an ugly device used to test the bull, a survival of an older tradition where that horse came in unprotected and the bull was allowed to tear it up.

The man on that horse is called a picador.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

roman-amphitheatre-at-arles

It does not happen often, but when a bull excels in performance and bravery, people hold up a hanky to ask the President to spare its life.

The bull goes back to the farm and many people will remember him by his name.

The same bull cannot be used again in another fight because he becomes too dangerous once he has learned.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The Cape

A large red cape is used in the first part of the fight, when the bull runs very fast and is not yet as dangerous as he will be a moment later:

.

This photo is from an insider’s blog at http://torear.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html, a great place.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

The Muleta

-corrida_in seville

The smaller red cloth called a muleta is used in the second part of the bullfight.

If all goes well, the bull obeys as if in a dream, charging slowly and so close that its blood wipes off on the bullfighter’s belly.

Most foreigners would  assume that these bulls are similar to cows and bulls elsewhere, but they are not, and a zoologist could probably explain the difference.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

bullfight madrid

In the past the fighting bulls were kept on farms that were so immense that the animals would not get into contact with people.

Now the bulls are kept on large farms but herded almost like domestic animals and so they have become weaker.

There may be some cheating, too: hormones, prefab food, miscalculated breeding techniques.

The bulls of the famous breeders are very expensive.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

bull toro corrida

The bullfight should not be judged as a spectacle or a sport. It is basically not meant as entertainment.

It is a ritual or an art, though by now severely fudged by tourist interests.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

great-bullfight-2

There is a short bullfight sequence by Almodovar in his film “Speak to her”.

The death dance and the song accompanying it give you an idea of what a corrida could be to some, and not to others.

Notice that Almodovar’s bull is no good, should not have its mouth open, its tongue out, and may even be a bit too young. —  And wasn’t there also something about those horns?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

madrid bullring

This is a thumbnail of the Madrid bullring. You can see how large it is compared to the man and his bull.

On TV you would see things from up close, and that changes their meaning.

The picture was taken from high up. The seats are cheaper up there now — though they used to be expensive in the past, reserved for the happy few.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

.

The Banderillas

.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Banderillero_Curro_Molina.jpg
released to public domain by author Josejasc-f

Most banderilleros are anonymous. They need the extra money, or they love the fight and try to remain connected.

What you can’t see on a photo is the awful SPEED of the bull.

banderillas

Those sticks are called banderillas, little flags.

They are meant to make the bull lower his head. The banderilleros are rarely famous, rarely  known by name, but tourists understand and admire their art  better.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

Sometimes bullfighters make fun of each other. This photo is called “A bullfight in France”.

bullfight in France

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

tauromaquia_goya_33-wiki

This is the Wiki thumbnail of a Goya drawing, the death of a famous torero.

In the past, bullfighters died of horn wounds because there was no penicillin to keep their wounds from rotting.

.

Ignacio Sanchez grieving the death of Joselito.

These photos were published on the 100th anniversary of his death.

Below:  Joselito fighting

http://torear.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/sobre-joselito-en-el-centenario-de-su_27.html

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

goya corrida 6

The most dangerous moment

is the kill.

As the bull is tired out, he will carry his head low, which would allow the bullfighter to lean in across and over his horns to reach a spot between the bull’s shoulder blades with his sword.

In his death, before collapsing, the bull might throw up his head and horn the torero.

When there has been a good fight and the bullfighter gets ready to kill, there is an awful silence  invading the plaza.

You know he is going to kill when you see  the bull stop and lower his head; the bullfighter moves into a position in front of the bull; he lowers his cloth almost to the ground, he lifts his arm with the sword and waits one more second as if  praying or judging his risk —

Maybe if you have never been to a fight, this photo means nothing to you.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

However, the bullfighter’s most dangerous enemy is the wind and gusts of wind that make it impossible for him to control the movement of that red cloth, his muleta.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Goya drawings are Wikipedia, 3 photos are from an American’s travel blog that no longer exists and from this studio blog.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

Now, should the bullfight be prohibited ?  You tell me.

Kids love it.  See kids playing with a bull: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKsOEuEb8AY

It is cruel, but  not as cruel as many films and computer games and wars started on flimsy pretexts.

For four or more years, until they are called to the ring, these bulls  live in complete freedom,  better than almost any other animals kept by man.

Remember the awful facts of industrial meat production?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

.

Postscript added in 2013:

One more thing.

Once you have been to 100 fights or so, you hold your breath and cover your eyes no longer when the bull gets hurt, but when the torero sets his life at risk.

Anyway, it could simply be an art created in the past and no longer understood.

Here is Forges’ view:

forges bullfightl

http://elpais.com/autor/antonio_fraguas_forges/a/

>>> >> Over to   A   V i s i t   t o   M a d r i d

.

Comments»

1. David - April 1, 2011

As spectacles go, at least the bulls occasionally win. We can’t very well have humans down there in the pit killing each other now, can we?

2. cantueso - April 6, 2011

To David:

Remember the bullfight is not similar to the Romans’ gladiator fights. Those were not ritualistic.

However, I think the US does allow a ritualistic execution of people called “The Death Penalty” which enjoys the support of what Shakespeare called “the rabblements” and the rabblements’ politicians.

There is however a basic difference in that The Death Penalty show is not fianced by the sale of tickets, but by taxpayers.

3. The Raging Bulls Fight Saga From Kenya - Hujambo Africa - Hujambo Africa - August 31, 2013

[…] Bullfight Basics […]

cantueso - September 24, 2014

There is a law against it. Otherwise, and in some countries more than others, though not exactly in Spain, ….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s