Asian-influenced objects in precious materials such as mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell became highly prized luxury goods in the Americas. This large and beautifully decorated casket counts among a small number of surviving Spanish Colonial boxes covered in mother-of-pearl inlay divided by thinly cut tortoiseshell borders. These are sometimes thought to originate from Mexico or Peru; compare examples illustrated in op. cit. 2000, no. 82 and Marcos, op. cit., fig. 28, as well as a large desk and bookcase in the V&A (inv. no. W.3:1-7-1943). A finely engraved mother-of-pearl sewing box in the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection, however, is catalogued as 'Peru or Philippines', with reference to artists from Manila producing such pieces for export to the viceroyalties (Richel, op. cit., no. 1-24). The attractive silver mounts on the present casket are contemporary with the object. A comparable domed casket with silver mounts was sold at Christie's London on 10 November 2005 (lot 14).
El Galeón de Manila, exh. cat. Hospital de los Venerables, Seville, Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City, Museo Histórico de Acapulco, Fuerte de San Diego, Acapulco, Madrid, 2000; J. J. Richel (ed.), The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820, exh. cat. The Philadelphia Museum of Art et al., 2006; F. Marcos, Las Artes del Nuevo Mundo, exh. cat. Coll & Cortés and Marcos e Marcos, Madrid, 2011