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Title:Tray (Batea)
Date Made:late 18th century
Type:Household Accessory
Materials:lacquered wood
Place Made:North America; Mexico; Michoacán; Pátzcuaro
Measurements:Overall: 3 7/8 in x 22.875 cm; 9.8 cm x 9 in
Accession Number:  AC 1955.570
Credit Line:Gift of the children of Dwight W. Morrow (Class of 1895) and Elizabeth C. Morrow
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Tray with cream background and painted designs in black, red, and gold. Center of interior has a leaping dog in gold and with foliate design in red and black. Center encircled by a band of alternating leaping black dogs and gold leaves. Outer boarder are bands of black, red and gold foliate patterns surounted bya red and the cream band. The rim is alternately black, red and gold, and the exterior is black. Illustrated in "Casa Manana" and attrib. to "probably from P√°tzcuaro, State of Michoacan. Similar in style to Workshop of Four Flowers, P√°tzcuaro.

Label Text:
An intricate network of concentric circles and sensuous organic forms adorns this lacquered tray, or batea, made in the former Spanish colony that is now Mexico. Painted in black, ocher, red, and gray, the tray's center features five peculiar, energetic creatures (possibly Spanish mastiffs) enmeshed in dense, stylized vegetation, suggesting a fantastical hunting scene. Larger vegetative motifs, including black and red leaves and foliate scallops, fill the outermost circle, framing the central scene.
Lacquer wares reached high levels of production in pre-Hispanic Mexico and served as objects for domestic use and trade throughout Mesoamerica. This batea, however, exhibits stylistic features indicative of the intermingling of cultures following colonization by Spain beginning in the late fifteenth century. The fanciful decoration is derived partly from the European vogue for chinoiserie, a style inspired by Chinese art, which came to the Americas via Spain's trade with the Philippines. The tray's large scale and rich ornamentation signifies familial wealth and lineage.
Timothy Clark, Class of 2012

lacquer; trays; dogs; flowers

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