Description & Technical information

An important gilt and reddish brown lacquered timber consisting of two hinged sections on bracketed feet.
On the front surface the insignia of the Society of Jesus - the Christogram IHS and the three nails of the crucifixion surrounded by a flaming sun - on a ground of stylised lotus flowers and foliage scrolls.
On the feet overlapping foliage and scrolling vines decoration, and on the book supporting outer surface a stylised lotus flower, tendrils and a typicallu Chinese band of key-fret.

On the back a composition of equally stylised lotus flowers, as if replicating in lacquer a Southern China silk lamps pattern.
A curious detail of this rare lectern are the various old brass restorations joining the split fragments, suggesting intense use and, equally high value.

The religious community that commissioned this lectern, most likely of Jesuit origin and based in Asia, would have given regular use to such an essential object of the catholic cult.
Several similar lecterns of Japanese origin, known as Namban, depicting Jesuit Insignia have been recorded in the literature. However, the rarity of the present lectern, must be reinforced on account of its Chinese origin.

Hugo Miguel Crespo
Art Historian, CH - FLUL

Date:  late 16th - early 17th
Period:  1400-1600, 16th Century, 17th century
Medium: Gilt, Reddish brown lacquered timber
Dimensions: 22.9 x 19.1 x 13.7 cm (9 x 7¹/₂ x 5³/₈ inches)
Provenance: Collection A. Fernandes, Lisbon and J.L., Lisbon

Exhibitions: 2006, São Francisco Xavier (1506-1552), Cordoaria Nacional, Lisbon
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art