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Bureau

Bureau

Inv. No. CE3/01171

This bureau is made from wood inlaid with bronze and tortoiseshell. It has eight drawers and a central cupboard decorated with Solomonic columns and a representation of the battle between Hercules and Cacus. Marquetry and wrought iron handles can be seen on the sides. The top part presents a figure of Minerva in a niche, as well as a golden eagle. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, the arts, and war, as well as the protector of Rome; she is identified with the Greek goddess Athena. The Bureau stands on eight spherical legs with clawed feet.

The term bargueño was first used towards the end of the 19th century. Before then, terms used included arquilla and escritorio (with folding lids) and arquimesa or contador (without lids but with drawers). The term bargueño is now commonly accepted and refers to a piece of furniture with drawers that are typical of the 16th and 17th centuries. It originated in Spain from two types of furniture: the Catalan bridal chest and the rectangular Mudejar chest, and its later variations. In the 16th century it spread from Spain to the Habsburg dominions, where it was used to store documents and small valuable objects.

Item displayed in the !6th-18th century Ceramics Room, second floor.

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