Shell-inlaid paintings - Printable Version

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Shell-inlaid paintings - dave r - 09-16-2009

Hi Sonia, it is hard to see from the illustrations in your work as they are mostly too small, is there any chance of some real close-up details?

Shell-inlaid paintings - sonia - 09-16-2009

Hi. I am working on my dissertation about New Spanish shell-inlaid paintings, made from 1650 to 1750. No one knows what kind of shells were used and the fact they are cut, inlaid and painted makes it very difficult to identify them. I have tried to find a research group able to identify them. Any suggestions?
Here you can find some images of these paintings:

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Shell-inlaid paintings - sonia - 09-16-2009

Hi, Dave. Yes, I can email you many details. Please, email me to <!-- e --><a href=""></a><!-- e --> so I can send them to you.

Shell-inlaid paintings - paul monfils - 09-17-2009

Hi Sonia,

Unfortunately these appear, as you said, to be made largely of cut up pieces of shell, which makes identification pretty difficult if not impossible.  I see a couple of things that may be identifiable.  First, several of the works use quite a lot of mother of pearl. Mother of pearl comes from both pearl oysters, and a number of snails, but the material from snails is visibly curved except in very small pieces.  Several of your items show rather large flat sections of pearl, so I am quite sure these came from the interior of pearl oysters, probably either the blacklip pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera, or the goldlip pearl oyster, Pinctada maxima.  Something like this:

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The other thing that attracts my attention is in the bird picture on page 111.  There are some oval-shaped objects with a short spiral inside them.  I can't tell if they are inlaid, or just painted on.  But if they are inlaid, then they are the opercula (singular operculum) of turban (Turbo) shells, with the inner side showing.  The operculum is a sort of "door" that a snail uses to block the aperture of its shell when it withdraws inside. These are widely used in art and jewelry, in which trades they are called "cateyes".  Here are some pictures.  See what you think:

<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... _white.jpg</a><!-- m --></a>

<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... h34765.jpg</a><!-- m --></a>

<a href="" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... ruen_4.JPG</a><!-- m --></a>  <span class="petit">--Last edited by Paul Monfils on 2009-09-18 01:54:09 --</span>

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