Travelling often reveals some of life’s more unusual treasures and none more so than when we discovered a miniature museum in the Andalucían town of Mijas.
Mijas is renowned as one of the most beautiful pueblo blancos (or white towns) in the region – a picture-perfect mix of white-washed buildings that grip the hillside, while cobbled streets connect patchwork squares lined with ironwork balconies and ornate signage.
But one of its most popular attractions is Carromato de Max a miniature museum in a gypsy-style caravan housing an unusual collection of tiny pieces of art, sculpture and minute curios.
The collection was founded in 1972 by a famous hypnotist Juan Elegido Millán, who went by the stage name of Professor Max. This museum has pieces from over 50 different countries, many of them utterly remarkable in their attention to detail and microscopic artistry.
The collection includes a painting of Abraham Lincoln on a pinhead, sculptures of Winston Churchill and James Dean honed from a piece of chalk and the tiniest paintings. Though not all of the pieces lived up to expectations – it’s most prized treasure was a painting of a naval battle on a pinhead but the colours seemed to blur into one even beneath the optimised glare of a microscope. While a copy of the Last Supper on a grain of rice and the Lord’s Prayer on the edge of a calling card proved so tiny they could have been almost anything. However there were many other great pieces:
The miniature museum is located close to Mijas’ pretty main square and if you can’t find it you can get a donkey taxi there – there’s plenty of them in the hillside town.
Tiny oil paintings – where do you even find a paintbrush small enough?
The bull-fight painted on a lentil (shown through a microscope).
Looking through the microscope at writing on a pin-head.
Devil of Oruro – hand carved silver, from La Paz Bolivia
The most gruesome piece is this shrunken head. Unique in the world the head’s hair has been analysed by the FBI and belongs to a white Caucasian man, it is believed to have been shrunk by Jibaro Indians.
Chinese ornaments, baked clay, porcelain and poly-chromed ivory from a Chinese mausoleum.
More tiny ornaments, this time depicting people from different parts of Africa.
Minute landscapes & still life painted with oils & arcylic.
Close up of perhaps the tiniest painting in the world – it’s no more than about 1cm long.
Face carved into a bean.
Through the looking glass – the Seven Wonders of the World painted on a toothpick.
Close up of the Seven Wonders of the World – anyone spot the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (we think it’s third from the bottom)?
Look closely – it’s a ballerina carved into a matchstick.
We visited Carromatto de Max whilst staying at Club La Costa’s Marina Del Sol.