Posted 3 years ago
This box does look like a mechanism from out of a steampunk movie... in fact, the first time I ever saw it, a box was the last think I could imagine. I guess its dirty surface does help in giving it that weird look too. It's true that a general surface cleaning must be done at once! If you look at the interior of the lid, you can see how the entire box should have looked when it was just made.
But in fact it simply is a box. And a very beautiful one (though a bit weird, ok).
These boxes were made in the Spanish city of Valencia. Those who have visited Spain will probably know Valencia from its amazing paella rice (not a big fan of it in my childhood myself, I have to face it now: when it's well cooked it's something to die for, and if you can't stand the pieces of children, rabbit , vegetables or sefood in it, you can order some variant such as the black rice or the fideuá.) or maybe you know the many long sandy beaches in the region. But Valencia is one of the traditionaly rich and culturally advanced cities in Spain, and has been so almost since Mediaeval times..
Prior to the 20th Century they had their fish, their oranges and many other vegetables, their silk, their furniture -Thonet chairs were made there under Thonet license- and their pottery, which made it a wealthy city. At the end of the 19th Century, that wealth was already generating some great cultural boom.
At the turn of the Century, Valencia surprised everybody with their very part icular version of Modernismo -the Spanish name for Art Nouveau- which didn't find inspiration in that of Barcelona's, but that of Vienna instead (and probably some from Italy too).
When Art Deco and Modernism arrived, Valencia was simply the top. They manufactured steel-tube furniture (and being a coastal city, the chrome-plate in this furniture didn't last long in perfect conditions, so even nowadays you can find a large number of chrome-plating workshops in Valencia); also their pottery industry adopted the look of the avant-gardes -will show you a couple of items from the time-; they even made stuff in the way they were doing in Europe, such as Hagenauer-look-alike figurines and so on... and what can I say about their art-deco streamline buidings! those are amazing too!
Later, in the 50s, when both Spain and Italy were recovering from their respective wars, Valencia took Italy as a model to follow and thus the creativity found in the city at the time is simmilar to that of Italy.