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56

THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN NOBLEMAN

Spanish Colonial, Guatamala, circa 1560
A RARE SILVER AND SILVER GILT ALTAR CROSS
Estimate
35,00045,000
LOT SOLD. 102,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
56

THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN NOBLEMAN

Spanish Colonial, Guatamala, circa 1560
A RARE SILVER AND SILVER GILT ALTAR CROSS
Estimate
35,00045,000
LOT SOLD. 102,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

European Sculpture & Works of Art

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Spanish Colonial, Guatamala, circa 1560
A RARE SILVER AND SILVER GILT ALTAR CROSS
hexalobate foot with four indistinct marks including mA yoR gA and a cockle shell surmounted by mannerist strapwork, the stem also marked, cast in two tiers each with six niches containing cast figures of the apostles, the cross which does not appear to be marked has an applied corpus on the front, the terminals enclosing gilt portrait roundels of the evangelists, the back centred by God the Father
most probably by Pedro Xuãrez de Mayorga of Santiago de Guatamala (Antigua) marked on the foot and stem
39cm., 15½ in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Acquired by the grandfather of the present owner.

Catalogue Note

The History of Guatemala began with the arrival of the conquistador Pedro de Alvaradao in 1524 and the original colonial capital was founded under the name of Santiago de Guatemala (Antigua) in 1543. The city became the cultural, economic, political and religious centre of the region until the devastating earthquake of 1773 when the capital was moved to its present location. Many monastic orders were based in the town and built  numerous monasteries, convents and churches. 

Sixteenth century Spanish colonial silver of this quality is rare. There are four marks on the foot of the cross and Christina Esteras Martín records similar marks on a chalice as those of the silversmith Pedro Xàvier de Mayorga and the cockle shell mark for Guatemala (Antigua). Of the other two indistinct marks, one is not listed and the other mark has the same rim as the mark for the assayor of silver in Guatamala after 1553, Cosme Romàn. The stem has also four marks but in addition to the maker's mark and what appears to be the bottom of the cockle shell mark, there is a  third mark of a crown which is probably a tax mark and which is also reproduced by Martín (1992 p.115) The final mark is unidentified  possibly including the letters PE. The cross itself appears to be unmarked.

The chalice illustrated by Martín of circa 1560 in the Varez Fisa Collection although enamelled has a similar foot and Martin also notes four processionals: one in the Museo Nacional de Historia (Castillo de Chapultepec) in Mexico which incorporates the two tiered arcaded stem, one in the Museo Nacional de Vireinato (Tepotzlán), another in a private collection in Guatamala and finally an unpublished cross in the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Note also the Guatemalan chalice in the National History Museum (ibid.).

Martín stresses the point that Mayorga would have arrived in Guatamala from Spain as a fully trained silversmith. She stylistically relates his work of an exceptional standard to silverwork originating from Seville and Old Castille but is unable to be more specific. The earliest documentary evidence which shows Mayorga living in Antigua Guatamala is March 1568.

RELATED LITERATURE
Esteras Martín (1992), p.115, no. 260, see also plate 14; Esteras Martín (2000), pp.54-58  and p.275-276

European Sculpture & Works of Art

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