La Camera delle Meraviglie di Garcia de Orta
Edited by Pedro Moura Carvalho. Texts by Pedro Moura Carvalho
2018 / 72 PAGES
A careful selection of rare, precious and original objects, extraordinary examples of the decorative art of the 16th and 17th centuries, which came from Asia to Europe, a source of pride for kings, princes and nobles and wonder for those who had the good fortune to see them.
These objects lavishly decorated in mother-of-pearl, ivory, semi-precious stones and other precious materials parade through the pages accompanied by texts by Pedro Moura Carvalho, an art historian and specialist in the history of applied arts.
The story begins in distant countries, during the Renaissance, when refined works of art made in Asia with exotic materials arrived for the first time in Europe following colonisation. The mastery of those distant artisans inspired wonder in merchants and scholars.
One of these was Garcia de Orta, a Portuguese doctor who lived in India for over thirty years and wrote the Colóquios, a treatise in Portuguese published in Goa in 1563. Later circulating through Europe, its subjects were pharmacology, botany and a variety of other themes, including the use and processing techniques of those raw materials still virtually unknown in the West.
Extensive quotations from the Colóquios, both scientific and anecdotal, are now collected in the volume. Four and a half centuries after his death, these unpublished testimonials show the research of Garcia de Orta, an eclectic scholar and perfect Renaissance man.