This chest was purchased by the Reveses in Madrid and is likely to have been made there. Although its origin is uncertain, the sophisticated use of exotic imported woods suggests an Iberian provenance. Following the exploration of Central America by the Spanish in the 1490s and the of the east coast of Africa and Brazil by the Portuguese in the first decade of the 16th century, exotic materials like ebony, rosewood, and ivory became increasingly available to Iberian woodworkers. Because of restrictive trading laws, Spanish and Portuguese craftsmen were able to make objects from such luxurious materials before the rest of their continental counterparts. However, because the Habsburg Empire controlled much of the Low Countries as well as Spain and Portugal between the 1580s and 1713, cabinetmakers in centers like Antwerp were soon able to work in these materials. And as trade in colonial raw materials widened, workers throughout Europe eventually had access to exotic woods and animal products.
"Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection," page 52