Gold & Silver Damascened Cigarette Case
length: 8 cm, width: 6cm
This cigarette case is richly damascened with gold in two colours and silver beading over steel. The workmanship is of a very high standard and is among the best of the commercial pieces produced in Spain during this period. It is hinged along one side and has a spring release operated by a button. The case is finely worked with an elaborate multi-pointed star motif interspersed with cartouches of swirling arabesque patterning and is reminiscent of mudéjar artesonado work, the joined wooden work used in ceilings of Moorish mosques. One of the best examples of this sort of work is to be found in the Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes in Toledo. (The images below show various pictures taken at the Monastery.)
Cartouches on either side contain the motto is Arabic that ‘There is no winner but Allah’. The reverse and interior are gilded.
Work of this type became synonymous with northern Spain and also the city of Toledo in the nineteenth century, and was particularly associated with the Zuloaga family.
A similar case is in the Khalili Collection (inventory no. ZUL 111).
the Khalili case is illustrated in Lavin, D., The Art and Tradition of the Zuloagas: Spanish Damascene from the Khalili Collection, The Khalili Family Trust, 1997, p. 192.
Inventory no.: 54