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portada de BMM


CATALAN DOWRY TRUNKS
by Rosa María Creixell, lecturer in history of furniture.
Collaborator at the museum of decorative arts.

The trunk is undoubtedly the piece of furniture that has remained a traditional feature of Catalan houses for the longest time. Its presence dates back from the Middle Ages and its use and function were preserved - in spite of the appearance of the chest of drawers as a handier substitute - until the nineteenth century while, in many cases, it assumed slightly different designs that were new versions of models of the past.

As a "container" piece of furniture, a household item essential for everyday life in private homes, the trunk was used for many different purposes and, according to the use it was intended for, there was a wide range of models that varied from the simple wooden boxes known as "arcas" in the kingdom of Aragon - which were used to store grains, tools and some kinds of food - to the more richly adorned cases, with a high aesthetic appeal as well as an essential symbolic significance, which were used to display and keep the "arras", the coins and other objects that were part of the bride's dowry. The piece that is the subject of this article is of the latter type and it is currently an exhibit at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Barcelona. (...)

It is a piece of furniture the design of which fits perfectly in the Renaissance style, since we may say that it dates back from the mid sixteenth century and that it displays obvious points of similarity with the Italian models of that period. (...) .