Chest

DATE:
early 17th–early 18th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Rosewood, ebony, ivory, gilt metal
CLASSIFICATION:
Furnishings
DIMENSIONS:
13 1/2 × 18 1/2 × 11 1/2 in. (34.29 × 46.99 × 29.21 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Decorative Arts and Design
LOCATION:
Wendy and Emery Reves Collection - Dining Room, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
OBJECT NUMBER:
1985.R.605

General Description

This chest was purchased by the Reveses in Madrid, where it is believed to have been made. Although its precise 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 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.

Adapted from

Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 52.