Mr Yannis Vassiliopoulos curator of the museum.
The little “diamond” of Naousa
– The collection of Othonas Kaparis
Article: Petros Alexiou
Anyone interested in having a close look at the designs of the coats of arms of Paros should visit the Historical and Folklore Museum of Naoussa, in a small building at the village square.
The museum houses the personal collection of Othonas Kaparis, an eminent doctor from Naoussa who had a keen interest in the island’s history, archaeology and popular art. Mr. Yiannis Vasiliopoulos, head and curator of the museum gave us much of the information we present in our article.
When Othonas Kaparis died, he left his collection to the then community which decided to set up this small museum. However, the collection articles are numerous and there is not sufficient room. Thus, the largest part of the collection is not exhibited. For this reason, we hold periodic exhibitions as well.
The most important part of the collection is the ceramics and especially those which belong to the ceramics “school” of Cana kale- the town we call the Dardanelles at the Hellespont. Parion, an ancient colony of Paros, was situated in this region.
There are also agricultural tools, furniture and articles related to the local house economy. For example, in the past the island produced large quantities of high-quality cotton. The ships that came to the island got caps, socks, undershirts… Up to the years ’65 to ’70.
I remember our grandmothers and mothers using knitting needles, working with cotton and wool. This is the kind of tools we have here.
We also have a collection of weights and measures, a collection of coins and another of clay pipes from the times of the Turkish rule. Don’t forget that there were also tobacco fields at Paros and that till 1965 the Cyclades tobacco tax service had its headquarters on the island. Surely, the tobacco production developed much later than1922, because the refugees from Asia Minor were more familiar with this product.
Finally, there is also the library of Othonas Kaparis with rare editions of monographs and catalogues. Kaparis was a lover of antiquity. In 1962-63 he had founded the Association of Antiquity lovers of Naoussa, at a time when only few such groups existed in Greece. I was a young man then. I remember that Panayiotis Mathiopoulos the painter who set up the Collection of Byzantine Icons and Heirlooms of Naoussa had introduced me to Anastasios Orlandos, the eminent Professor of the National Technical University who had been assigned the restoration of the Ekatontapiliani Church, with the words: “This young man belongs to our group. He is young but he has passion…”. Passion in the good sense… Love…The passion of the amateur, the lover of beauty and art… That’s why I carry on…