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Tray or Waiter

Decorative Arts and Design

Exhibited in Tiffany’s display at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, this tray is evidence of the nineteenth-century search for America’s roots in its pre-European cultures. The object is based on the famous “sun calendar” of the Aztecs. The calendar had been excavated in Mexico City about a hundred years before and had become an icon of the pre-Columbian past.
MEDIUM Silver, agate
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1893
    DIMENSIONS 2 x 21 x 21 x 21 in. (5.1 x 53.3 x 53.3 x 53.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Impressed on back: "TIFFANY & Co / 11361 [globe over T under TIFFANY & Co -- mark for 1893 fair] 4767 / STERLING SILVER / 925-1000"
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE Modernism Benefit Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Circular tray or waiter (plateau sur table), raised on 10 stepped, ornamented feet, each representing stylized Aztec deity and each crowned by scalloped, semi-circular, brown and black agate disk headdress that rises above gallery. Between each foot is sloping pierced band with stylized, engraved ornament. Between the headdresses is gallery of low, pierced arcade of repeating arches, each centered with small, elaborate cartouche. Center of tray slopes in concave curve away from gallery; surface is ornamented with acid-etched replica of the Aztec sun calendar. CONDITION: Normal wear. One agate headdress (just left of lower center) replaced with enameled copper.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Tiffany & Company (American, founded 1853). Tray or Waiter, ca. 1893. Silver, agate, 2 x 21 x 21 x 21 in. (5.1 x 53.3 x 53.3 x 53.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Modernism Benefit Fund, 87.182. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.182_view3_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 87.182_view3_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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