Sicilian Workshop, Trapani

Coral candlestick

European Art, 17th Century, Private Collection
6 x 6 x 50 cm2.4 x 2.4 x 19.7 in

The Jewish families that had emigrated to Trapani in the 15th C. were fundamental in spurring the production and sale of works made out of coral, establishing this particular area as the ultimate in terms of the refinement and elegance of the works it created. This candlestick was created when the production of coral objects in the Trapani area was at its peak and presents the typical elements of the sacred tradition: a triangular base with three feet, a tapered shaft featuring three differently shaped elements, a circular disc at the top and a cylinder to house the candle. The coral decoration is created using beads, chevrons and strips attached to the copper. The manufacture is based on the 'retroincastro' technique, which involved setting small coral elements onto thin sheets of metal using fish glue, wax and cloth. The effect of this technique, which is very old and widespread in the Trapani area, harks back to carpet designs of the Arab-Islamic tradition.

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