18th Century Sacristo Cabinet
ca. 1700
90" x 42.5" x 23"
Furniture, Wood Gesso, repousse Silver, Gold Leaf, and Pigment
Region: South America
This extravagantly detailed, pastiche cabinet is composed of a variety of elements. The front door panels are covered with repoussé silver in raised shapes and flourished designs and surrounded by a gold-leafed border. The top of the cabinet features a large heart, pierced with swords, and flanked on both sides by instrument-bearing mermaids. The mermaid motif, like many in Spanish Colonial art, was derived from popular European imagery that evolved according to local traditions. In this case, the Peruvian mermaids are seen playing the charango, a small Peruvian guitar. Crafted in Bolivia in the 18th century, the piece has interior shelving and ample storage.