This lovely 19th century table trunk from Southern Iberia has been carved from exotic wood and intricately decorated with inlaid bone.
The Iberian Peninsula is separated from North Africa (specifically Morocco) by the Strait of Gibraltar. At its narrowest, the distance between the two countries is 8 miles. The Islamic Berbers, who were an ethnic group native to Morocco, conquered most of Spain and Portugal in the 8th century. Moors, as they were often called, controlled most of the peninsula until the late 15th century. As the Moors were constantly traveling from Africa to Iberia and back, they introduced the Islamic style to Spain and Portugal while also bringing Spanish influence back to Morocco. This explains why this Iberian table trunk has elements of Moroccan style to it.
Even to this day, the most visible staple of Moroccan art and architecture is the Islamic influence. The eye-catching tilework, usually in geometric patterns, highly ornate quatrefoils and vivid color schemes are all symbolic of Islamic art.
Our table trunk has been hand-carved out of an exotic wood. Notice the deep, mainly straight wood grains and how they sometimes resemble flames. The panels have been fit together with pegged rabbet joinery, which adds strength to the assembly. The front and back panels have identical floral undulate bands of inlaid bone, surrounded by a thin rectangular line. The side panels have identical motifs, but on a smaller scale. The molding beneath the panels have a repeating pattern of quatrefoils and roundels. Under the moldings, the trunk sits on four bun feet.
The lid is the most impressive aspect of the trunk. The bottom of the lid has stepped molding, once again decorated with the quatrefoil and roundel pattern. Above this is a row of inlaid ovals that go all the way around the lid. The top of the lid is beautifully decorated with multiple floral bands set inside angular borders. Inside the triangular and hexagonal borders is another repeating pattern of quatrefoils inset with concentric circles and roundels.
Upon opening the lid, a plush blue velvet interior can be found. The velvet is held tight by a series of blue and white gimp cords that run along the edges of the fabric. There is a metal flip clasp that connects the lid to the front panel, keeping the lid securely closed. Our 19th century Southern Iberian table trunk can be displayed on a table or shelf with the lid closed, or with the lid open to showcase the vivid velvet interior.
CONDITION: Very good condition. Minor losses to inlay on the lid with fleabites. Minor wear to wood. Velvet lining was probably added after production.