Colonial style Country Mirror
40.5" x 27.5"
This patinated mirror from Guatemala, nestled in a beautifully hand carved wooden frame, is sure to command attention in any room. At the centre of the work, a simple wooden panel framed by small, pillow-like rectangles creates a border around the mirror. Along the exterior of the frame, skilled carvings of overlapping acanthus leaves and small flowers flow in gentle S curves along the sides and bottom of the mirror, drawing the eye downwards. The top of the mirror, with a crown-like shape accentuated with c-scrolls and more acanthus leaves, draws the eye upward, creating a sense of dynamism throughout the object. The contrast between the dense, symmetrical carvings of the lower portion of the object and the light and open carvings at the top add to this sense of dynamism. Together, the motifs in the carvings and the object’s emphasis on its decorative features, recall the bold and heavy aesthetic of the Baroque style. This style was popular in Guatemala during the colonial period (roughly from the 16th century to the 19th century) and can still be seen in the country’s capital, Antigua Guatemala, now a UNESCO world heritage site.
At this time in Guatemala, the country was colonised by Spain between the years of 1541–1821. The native Mayan population fought hard to preserve their culture and territories from the invading Spaniards, who forced the latter country to invent new pacification and control techniques. Guatemala is often considered to have been Spain’s most prosperous province during this era.