MATERIAL: Vellum
TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 30.5 cm; 12.125"
COMPONENTS: folio; 87 ff.; on vellum and paper; vellum leaf of introduction, opening with elaborately embellished “E” on a red ground; and the leaf's other lettering is in black and sepia inks, in a “calligraphic” hand that is simple but elegant.
CONDITION: One instance of worm activity displays itself throughout, ranging from pinholes to a significant diamond-shaped track with a “tail” that occasionally touches or costs one or two letters. Occasional iron gall “lacing”; occasional light waterstaining in some margins. Paper good, and volume sound.
NOTES: Carillo, Seville. This very much lesser noble's “claim to arms,” interesting as to content, thus offers much more as having the distinction of bearing (still bearing!) a full-page, contextualized, and attractive example of early Mexican, illuminated, colonial art.
ITEM ID: 645
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Mexican Illuminated Coat of Arms

DATE
Decade: 1620s
Century: 17th (1601-1700)
Notes: 1614-1620

A hidalguia manuscript for Alonso Lópex de Batista with a full-page Illuminated Coat of Arms by an Anonymous Mexican Artist. López de Bastida was a native of the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain. In this extensive submission, he provides details of his family, its genealogy, and numerous witnesses who testify to the purity of blood of the López, Bastida, and other ancestors, as well as to the family’s renown as hidalgos. The documents are written in a variety of non-calligraphic, notarial hands and include a copy of the grant of 16 April 1470 that Enrique IV of Castile made to an earlier Alonso López de Bastida and his heirs.

Alonso López de Bastida was living in Mexico City when he contested, via this cahier, a claim to the coat of arms and title of hidalgo that a brother attempted to force; and, formed in Mexico, his presentation was relatively modest as was typical. Yet it still commences with a vellum leaf of introduction, opening with an elaborately embellished illuminated “E” on a red ground; and the leaf’s other lettering is in black and sepia inks, in a “calligraphic” hand that is simple but elegant.

Then follows, protected by a yellow silk guard and also accomplished on vellum, the contested family coat of arms. Rendered full-page in gold, yellow, red, pink, blue, green yellow, purple, silver, and black, this is the work of an anonymous and clearly “provincial” but also clearly skilled Mexican artist. The arms are quartered: the lower right quadrant has four silver hearts on a field of red; the lower left has a castle in flames on a field of blue surrounded by a red border with exes; the upper left has a castle surrounded by water on a gold background, the quarter having a red border with exes; and the upper right quarter is further quartered featuring a gold castle on a red field upper left and lower right and a peccary upper right and lower left.