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Table Top
La 280
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This type of the folding table top with separate folding frame (missing here) is characteristically functional, reflecting the expensive stowing space in ships. Only few examples exist today.

History of the Object
Archive material verifies that similar tables circulated throughout Europe as royal gifts. The table top in the MAK was once in Archduke Ferdinand II’s (1529– 1595) library in Ambras Castle. In the inventory of his estate of 1596 it is stated: “Ain Indianisch tischbladt vom cardinal” [An Indian table top from the cardinal]. The rare designation of origin points to Cardinal Albrecht, Archduke of Austria, who as Viceroy of Portugal (1583–1593) might have sent the table top to Innsbruck as a mark of gratitude for “the German Army” being sent to Spain to assert the claims of Philip II’s successors in Portugal. The decoration imitates Chinese motifs familiar in porcelain, lacquerwork, and painting. Such “lacquerwork” were most likely made in Cochin by Chinese craftsmen for Europeans.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Argelim wood, lacquered and gilt; brass-hinge and -mounting 
Measurements
 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Indo-Portuguese (Cochin) 
Geography
India 
Time period
AD 14th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), before 1595 
Function
Table Top 
Acquisition
1995, transferred from the Ambras Collection, Innsbruck (Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
Georg Mayer 
Owner
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art 
Museum
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art 
Credit line
MAK 

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