Villa Alta, Oaxaca. Second Half Of The Seventeenth Century.


Height: 11 1/2" (29 cm);
Width: 14 1/4" (36 cm);
Depth: 9" (23 cm).

Of linaloe wood. Of rectangular form, decorated on four sides with marquetry and zumaque-filled engraving . The interior and exterior lid of conforming decoration. The whole raised on four replaced turned bun feet. Some veneers reattached. Small losses reinstated.

The present coffer is a good example of much prized 17th century marquetry furniture produced in Villa Alta de San Ildefonso, a town north of Oaxaca, Mexico, during the Spanish colonization of the country.

In the early sixteenth century, the Spanish conquest of Mexico during the reign of Charles V of Spain brought a viceregal and military presence to what was then referred to as “New Spain.” Beginning in 1521 and lasting three hundred years, the colonial period in Mexico subjugated the native Indian populations and their natural resources, and the result was a blending of cultures that produced a wealth of goods. “On the heels of the conquistadors there followed colonizers, merchants, and artisans and workers in different specialties, all of whom arrived with their beliefs and ambitions. New cities such as Puebla, Valladolid, Oaxaca, and Guadalajara blossomed.”1 Monastic orders were established, including Dominican, Franciscan and Augustan, which played an important role in the spread of religion, artistic techniques, and even the naming of Indian villages. The region of Oaxaca was mainly Dominican and, in addition to evangelizing the area, their monastic work was highly important to the transfer of European technology through the construction of churches, religious objects such as altarpieces, and other furniture.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.