Colonial Spanish Shaving Case

South America | 1700 - 1799

Lima, Peru
18th Century

This rare colonial shaving case was most probably made in Lima, Peru, although it belongs to a decorative tradition that spans the Portuguese and Spanish colonies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is veneered with tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl in a florid design, and edged with silver fringing. The interior is divided so as to hold shaving blades and other toilette accessories, with each section edged in silver. The lid is lined with old red velvet, and the interior wood is stained red. The hinge is also in silver, and the whole is surmounted by a silver pineapple finial.

This type of tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl-inlaid furniture is often described as enconchado, or shell-encrusted. The style was developed by craftsmen in the Philippines in the early 17th century, and drew inspiration from Indo-Portuguese pieces imported to the islands by the Spanish. The sumptuous effect of illustrious mother-of-pearl against a backdrop of rich, warm tortoiseshell proved popular and was adopted by craftsmen throughout the Latin colonies. Here the sense of luxury provided by these exotic materials is heightened by the generous silver fittings.

Measurements: 10 1/2” (27 cm) High; 3 1/2” (9 cm) Wide; 3 1/2” (9 cm) Deep

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