Early 17th Renaissance Malines Carved Box


Architectural box known as Malines, early 17th century.

Rectangular in shape, in blackened wood and carved and engraved alabaster, with architectural decoration of columns and arches, supporting a stepped entablature. The blackened wooden cover presents two engraved alabaster plates decorated with stylized foliage, wrought iron handle. The interior has several secret drawers in green lacquered wood hidden behind two removable side panels.

The idea of  the architectural container was born in medieval times and in the religious field; in this case, the function is that of a reliquary, so the box must represent the building, church, cathedral or basilica where it will be placed to scale.
During the Renaissance, a secular type of production was established: the palace, which became the symbol of the economic and political power of the nobility and wealthy merchants, was reproduced on a scale in architectural containers, which spread throughout all over Europe, with the use of different materials but with the same goal, through the many architectural elements of the decorations, to hide the true function of the container, the presence of drawers or the identification of the lid itself.
The architectural container is therefore a real “status symbol” of the Renaissance, intended exclusively for the well-to-do classes.

The city of Mechelen, in Flanders, specializes from the 16th to the 17th century in small plaques representing religious or mythological subjects which are often inserted into a sculpted architectural decoration. Also in Mechelen we owe the Flemish production of architectural containers, limited both in quantity and time as they only appeared between the 16th and 17th centuries.


W cm 34
D cm 21
H cm 17

1 in stock


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Packing in customized wooden box.

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