Within the framework of the so-called Embriachi production, during the quattrocento, appeared some caskets which freed themselves from the use of carved bone plates in favor of a single veneer of marquetry alla Certosina with a captivating geometric decoration [... ] whose nomenclature seems to reconnect with the southern origins of this process. Indeed, the technique of marquetry alla certosina has its roots in the art of Geometric Tarsia, a fine wood marquetry with geometric decorations, very widespread in Muslim Spain since the tenth century. These combinations are used there to adorn wooden doors for example, but also on a less monumental scale, combs or boxes, all from the workshops of Cordoba and Granada. It was probably through Mediterranean trade that this technique arrived in Italy in the 14th century, where it was adapted and consecrated by the Bottega of the Embriachi. However, in the cities of northern Italy where the attraction for oriental luxury objects flourished and prospered, the process retained the interest of sponsors at least until the 16th century. These pieces illustrate how, at the end of the Middle Ages, by replacing oriental works with their own manufactured products, the workshops of northern Italy maintained their hold on the European luxury market. These creations were sold by merchants from Lucca, Genoa or Venice on site, but also in the fairs and major urban centers of the time, such as Bruges or Paris, where the elites seemed to adopt the same taste for exoticism as their counterparts on the Italian peninsula.
Published work: Lequio, M., Of wood and bone: a selection around the Embriachi studio, Galerie Sismann, 2021.