This Italian walnut chest called « cassone » is shaped as an antic sarcophagus. The beautiful patina and the plain lid bring to the fore the facade richly ornated with vegetal motifs and masks. The lateral sides are more soberly executed while the feet of the chest are carved as lion paws. The square shape of the wrought iron handles shows how very early in century the chest was produced.
The lower part of the chest is decorated with a large foliated garland with fruits (pomegranate) running on three sides of the chest.
In the centre a coat of arm reminds us of the chest’s nuptial function and of the union of two families. The shield is framed by elegant foliated scrolls and wincing masks.
The upper part of the chest’s facade is more sobre presenting an empty cartouche with palm leaves finials between two lozenges. The angles of the frieze present halves of the same cartouche.
The choice of the ornaments decorating this chest were not chosen without meaning. Cassoni were destined to be given on the occasion of a marriage. The chest would contain the bride’s trousseau and would decorate the room of the spouses. This is why some motifs are closely linked to marriage and married life. This is the case of the pomegranate symbolising marriage and fertility because of the many seeds it contains. The depiction of a pomegranate expresses the desire for a large family.