Laia l’arquera, located in the Porta Laietana of the Catalonian City of Mataró, has turned into the most representative and emblematic figure of this coastal City. Being inaugurated in 1998, she has a height of 80 feet up to the head, reaching 115 feet in her highest point, the point of the Arch.
According to her author, the known Catalonian sculptor Rovira-Brull, Laia has the spirit of prehistoric cultures and represents the union amongst earth and Human being. While Laia l’arquera is fertile and maternal, she turns agressive when threatened. She is the Goddess capable of procreating and guaranteing the tribe’s survival. Laia also represents both, Cosmos and the five elements. Laia earth, water, fire, wind and Laia’s quintessence.
Laia’s attribute, the Arch, refers to the Greek Goddess Artemisa, daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apolo. She is the virgin divinity of the hunt, the fertility, births and the midwives. The myth says, Laia helped her mother with Apolo’s birth. Laia played a key role the day her twin brother was born.
In Roman mythology Laia is compared to Diana, Nature protector and Hunting Goddess and Selene, the Moon.
Oriented to Burriac, but why?
Laia, aimed by her author, points directly to Burriac, magic mountain where the iberic village of Burriac (Ilturo) was. Ilturo was the political and administrative capital of the Laietan territory which comprised the current counties of Maresme, Barcelones, Baix Llobregat and Oriental and Occidental Vallès. During the Second Century bC, the urban nucleus of Cabrera de Mar provided itself with a new plant.
The high ranking officials and public representatives of the Roman administration who lived in Ilturo showed the authority and the power of Rome over the Laietan Iberians. At the beginning of the 1st century aC abandons Ilturo (Cabrera de Mar) and the Roman city of Iluro (Mataró) was founded.
Pointing to Burriac, Laia pays homage to the origins of the city and joins symbolically Mataró (Iluro) to Burriac (Ilturo), Cabrera de Mar. She is the link or union of the present to the past and project herself towards the future.
Laia and the five elements
The five elements of the classical tradition are the earth, the water, the wind, the fire and the quintessence. These represent, in the philosophy and the science, the understanding of the cosmos and all exists and lives with it. The five elements explain the patterns that govern nature.
The first four earthly and perishable, are associated with the four states of the matter: earth-solid, the water-liquid, the wind-gases, the fire-plasma, and with the signs of the zodiac: tauro, virgin and capricorn are earth signs; cancer, scorpion and fish are water signs; twins, scale and aquarium are air, and aries, lion and sagittarius, fire.
Aristòtil adds the fifth element or quintessence, observing that the four first (earth-water-wind-fire) are earthly and perishable, unlike the stars and celestial bodies, formed by a matter or celestial substance invariable and incorruptible.