Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte

Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática

Fondo arqua

Snuff box

Caja de rapé

It is a "cajeta" that describes the profile of a venera, being its faces planiform . The lid, joined by means of hinges, are decorated with geometric motifs based on vegetated dogs forming four cartons symmetrically arranged at the cardinal points, and these joined by a border of cartons; In the center, a generous space is opened, closed by vegetable links, where the scene of a fox is depicted stalking a bird.

The rear face has identical composition and only the motif of the reserve is changed: now, there are two birds perched in a garden.

Technically, the embellishments were worked at the point of burin, tingling the bottoms with a sting of luster based on thick points. The technical treatment of the ornaments and the use of an ornamental vocabulary that still moves within an agenda of geometric ancestry, although already evolved towards naturalistic forms, allow us to fix its chronology within the first quarter of century XVIII.

On the other hand, the animals represented and the structure of the box in the form of venera lead to the Bolivian workshops of the area of ​​Potosí. In this sense, the taste developed in the Viceroyalty of Peru by the boxes with this shell profile (also used in other larger boxes: the so-called "coqueras" or "yerbateras" and confectioners) confirm this proposal and this copy of "La Mercedes "Finds a similar example in its design with the one rescued from the galleon" Our Lady of Light ", sunk off Montevideo in 1751 (auctioned at Sotheby's New York, March 1993, lot 250).

Cristina Esteras Martín

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