1 - Ilustrações lavradas – a figuração nos espaldares em couro lavrado das cadeiras portuguesas/Carved illustrations – the figures carved in leather upholstery of Portuguese chairs. In Papers from the 3rd International Seminar Memória e Cultura Visual/Memory and Visual Culture - AGIR – Associação para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento Sócio-cultural . Portugal, September 2010/pages 91-114.

Keywords: leather carved upholstery, antique furniture, decorative arts, Portuguese chairs.

Abstract: In early 17th century, Portuguese leather carvings got free from the Mediterranean style owning its aesthetics to Iberian Muslim heritage.

The chair started to substitute the former “sitting in the Moorish way”, on tapestries and cushions; in its early stage, the chair was kept to be used by the lord of the palace or the figures of the Church, and slowly its use got democratized. In Portugal, the Moorish/mudejar taste kept the use of cowhide in upholstering, carved with a sharp “V” gauge in its initial style and, later on, by non-sharp chisels and ornamented punches.

With the Renaissance coming into the decorative arts, leather carving started to include other elements, to be developed by Baroque and Rococo styles. Besides the high quality of the chisel carvings and plenty of stylized foliage, birds, double-headed eagles, coats-of-arms, and young lads, several examples do show us parts of History or stories of the dominant class, whether illustrations of daily life, aspects of meetings with other cultures, or as metaphors of Power and Love. This series of figures adds more to Portugal visual culture, and gives prominence to a seat that became famous in Portugal and in Europe as well, in the Baroque times.

The research covered all country, in museums and private collections, which allowed me to write a few books and articles. This talk is centered in a particular aspect of the matter that asks for a specific attention.

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