Casket (cassetta), 1500–1530
Ferrara or Venice
Gesso on wood (pastiglia); 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 x 10 1/4 in. (18.4 x 21.6 x 26 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1910 (10.141.1)
This wood casket is decorated with pastiglia ornament, a relief technique found in northern Italy between the late fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries. In contemporary recipes, the substance was called pasta di muschio (musk paste). It was made of a white lead paste mixed with egg white as a binder and scented with musk. The scent was thought to have aphrodisiacal properties, which added to the casket's value as a marriage gift. The grotesque decorative forms were inspired by Roman examples.