Dating: 17th century
Material: Wood & Brass
Dimensions (cm): 178,6 x 121,2 x 57
Inv. no.: PD0310
A cabinet, in pau santo wood, consisting of two parts: a body and a base. The body, with “wave” like motifs, is filled with drawers and the sides have elliptical brass ring handles. The drawers have arabesque plates and brass pendant-shaped handles. The base has trimmed ends (except on the back) complemented with volutes and foliage motifs. It has carved flattened discs and spheres for legs.
Cabinets were originally meant to store objects or accounting documents – such as money, valuables, income and expenditure documents, etc. This led to its Portuguese name – contador (counter) – for these were the pieces of furniture where the “accounts” were stored.
Particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, Portuguese cabinets got a particular style that differentiated them from other European pieces. This happened with other types of furniture at the time but scholars – such as the American historian Robert Smith and the Portuguese historian Reynaldo dos Santos – have adopted the expression “National Style”.