Formerly in the collection of Baron Léon de Pitteurs Hugaerts d'Ordange.
Possibly sold in the sale of the collection of Baron Léon de Pitteurs Hugaerts d'Ordange by Galerie Fievez in Brussels, 14th-17th December 1927.
Exhibition Catalogue, El Meuble Mexicano Historia, Evolucion e Influencia, p. 76, cat. 15, illustrates a coffer in similar technique (Coll. Banamex). Furthermore, Lake, la Vision de un Antiquario illustrates a related piece described as Oaxaca.
There is a type of writing desk (bufetillo) which was made in Oaxaca in the 17th century of wood decorated with zulaque similar in conception to this piece is in the Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City (7-014 06785). It was based on German models which were copies of Spanish prototypes. These `German style' writing chests were made in Oaxaca mainly and their decoration was based often on engravings possibly by the Dutch artist Philip Galle, but executed in a distinctly naïve local style. In Europe, the designs were usually incised in wood using a hot iron but in New Spain the patterns were filled with zulaque a bitumenlike paste of burnt lime, oil, and black vegetable dye extracted from the palo tinte, a tree that is prolific in the region. Inlay was used occasionally but never to produce views of cities and ruins which were so popular in Germany. Figures as on the present example were depicted in 17th century German dress.
For a pair of related Mexican coffers, see lot 129, sold in these Rooms, 29th October 2003.
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