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Table Cabinet (Contador)

Decorative Arts and Design

Colonial Spanish American rooms often contained two or three stacked cabinets and writing desks like the ones seen here. Bufetes, or side tables, sometimes draped with velvet covers with gold fringes and tassels, would serve as bases for these towers of luxury. A religious image or a precious object such as an ivory sculpture would crown the furniture.

The vertical arrangement of elite objects in Spanish and Spanish American reception rooms is documented in both Baroque prints and colonial American inventories. The 1710 Lima inventory of the estate of the wealthy Spanish viceroy of Peru, the marquis de Castelldosrius, lists “two desks covered with tortoise shell, ivory, and mother-of-pearl with two other similar, but smaller, desks and their two side tables with two borders of the same.”

El mobiliario en las habitaciones coloniales hispanoamericanas frecuentemente incluía dos o tres gabinetes o escritorios apilados uno sobre otro, como se aprecia aquí. Bufetes o mesas laterales, a veces con cubiertas de terciopelo adornadas con flecos y borlas de oro, servían como base para estas torres de lujo. Una imagen religiosa u otro objeto precioso como una escultura de marfil coronaba la composición.

El arreglo vertical de objetos de lujo en las salas de recepción en España y en Hispanoamérica se documenta tanto en algunos grabados barrocos como en numerosos inventarios coloniales americanos. El inventario de 1710 del acaudalado virrey español del Perú, el marqués de Castelldosrius, en Lima, cataloga “dos escritorios cubiertos de carey, marfil y madreperla con otros escritorios similares más pequeños y sus dos mesas laterales con dos bordes iguales.”

MEDIUM Wood, bone, ivory, and tortoiseshell
DATES late 17th or early 18th century
DIMENSIONS 12 5/16 x 14 9/16 x 10 1/4 in. (31.3 x 37 x 26 cm) Legs: 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Ernestina Fleischman
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Table Cabinet (Contador), late 17th or early 18th century. Wood, bone, ivory, and tortoiseshell, 12 5/16 x 14 9/16 x 10 1/4 in. (31.3 x 37 x 26 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Ernestina Fleischman, 53.11.8. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 53.11.8_48.206.92_EL95.08_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE group, 53.11.8_48.206.92_EL95.08_PS6.jpg.
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