Casket (cofanetto or scrigno)

Date: 1575–1600

Culture: Italian, Venice

Medium: Beechwood, ebony, painted and decorated with incrustation of mother-of-pearl, ivory with gilding; miniatures: gouache on parchment; lined with later fabric

Dimensions: 7 7/8 × 15 5/8 in. (20 × 39.7 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.848


Richly decorated with shimmering tablets of painted mother-of-pearl and gilded ivory, this casket incorporates gouaches showing mythological themes that celebrate female beauty. These depictions, combined with the fact that the lid originally enclosed a mirror, indicate that this cofanetto held toilet articles. The exterior framework is painted alla dasmaschina, showing decorative patterns resembling those used to embellish Saracenic steel.

[Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, 2010]