Unknown author17th century,

Grão Vasco National Museum

Grão Vasco National Museum
Viseu, Portugal

Testimonies to the intense trade that the Portuguese enjoyed with the Orient, and the hybridism or artistic miscegenation arising from such activity, are to be found in the form of Indo-Portuguese cabinets and caskets dating from the late 17th century. Transcribing the physical and functional dimension of the European counterparts that arrived in the old Portuguese territories in India, these cabinets were fundamentally appreciated for the exoticism of their materials, their motifs and their decorative compositions. The symmetrical plant decoration that spreads over the lid, sides and drawers shows an extraordinary sense of colour through the use of wood and tinted ivory inlays. Besides its material and functional aspects, the copper-gilt of the nails and screws and used as protection for the corners, as well as on the handles and finger-plates, helps to accentuate the essential decorative dimension of these miniature pieces of furniture, widely used in Portugal and normally intended for holding writing implements and small personal objects.

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  • Title: Casket
  • Creator: Unknown author
  • Date Created: 17th century,
  • Physical Location: Grâo Vasco Nacional Museum, Viseu, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.5 cm x 41.5 cm x 32.9cm
  • Provenance: Indo-Portuguese
  • Type: Furniture
  • Rights: © DGPC/ADF/Photographer:José Pessoa, 1997
  • Medium: Nailed Teca (base), ebony, sissé, ivory, exotic wood and brass (copper)