Extremely rare mirror of rectangular shape with an inverted profile. Model with
a black varnish background inlaid with a delicate straw marquetry with a
radiating decor of scrolls and flowers (thistles, tulips ...) in trapezoidal reserves
lined with lace.
Fir wood core.
French work of the Louis XIV period, 17th century.
Height: 43 cm; width: 52 cm.
Glass : height : 24 cm ; width : 15 cm.
If straw marquetry was at the peak of its popularity at the end of the 18th
century, the technique was born in the 17th century in Europe, probably
imported from the East.
This poor man's art made it possible to create real masterpieces using a
common rye straw. Once stripped and cut of its grain, it takes on a shimmering
appearance that gives it an important refraction to the light thanks to a layer of
natural silica, the cuticle that makes it waterproof, rotproof, and insensitive to
attacks by parasites.
It is for its brilliance that this poor man's gold is used here to replace the floral
decorations in gold powder of the oriental lacquer of China and Japan. The very
busy decoration according to the concept of horror vacui is still largely inspired
by the Italian Renaissance. Few pieces from the 17th century have come down
to us, and only two mirrors are known to exist. Our model is unique in that it
combines European varnish and straw inlay, which corresponds to one of the
many attempts that were made to imitate at lower costs the Asian productions,
just like arte povera.