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The AINCIART-BERGARA family

Charles BERGARA and his daughter Nicole continue the family tradition today, at Larressore. Charles had made makhilas with his father, Joanes BERGARA, before taking over the family business.
Joanes had married Marie-Jeanne AINCIART and learnt the craft from his father-in-law, also named Jean who was born in 1862. Jean, in turn, discovered the secret from his father (Antoine, born in 1828) and from his grandfather, Gratien, born in 1796. The tradition came from Gratien's father, Dominique AINCIART, but the rest is unknown as no archives are known of, beyond this era.


Joanes BERGARA in the same spot in 1962
Jean AINCIART in the front of his work bench in Larressore, in 1924

"Jean AINCIART is son and grandson of makhila makers - a veritable master of his craft"
(J.B. Daranatz, 1927. Curiosités du Pays Basque)

"A craftsman at Larressore, near Cambo in the Basque Country, has become a specialist with these walking sticks. The worked wood is beyond reproach in form and design. The Ainciart makhilas are all signed and dated by the master himself".
(Xavier de Cardaillac, 1903. Propos gascons)

  

Ancient makhilas 

The Ainciart-Bergara makhilas are crafted at Larressore thanks to handed down knowledge by several generations. Each piece and component such as the baton itself, the weighted cap, the decorative casing and the pommel, is hand made always using the same family tools. The tricks of the trade and secrets have been carefully guarded and passed on to family members.


"A makhila featured in the 1889 exhibition in Paris and won a "prix d'honneur". The engraved casing, lying before my eyes, represents a wild boar, a woodcock, a fox, a hare and all their names in Basque : basa urdia, pekada, hacheria, erbia. This particuliar makhila is now to be found in the Basque Museum in Bayonne".
(J.B. Daranatz, 1927. Curiosités du Pays Basque)

A collection of makhilas presented to Basque Museum by the Ainciart family

A little anecdote....
"A Sous-Préfet - local administrator - of Charles 10th after a years posting to Bayonne held the makhila responsible for various accidents during meetings, festivals, fairs and market days. He thus tried to have them banned and sent notice to this effect in september 1829 to all the mayors of the area".
J.N. Darrobers, 1995. Ekaina 54

Marie Jeanne Ainciart, Joanes Bergara's wife