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Sharing and status: the design and function of a sixteenth-century Spanish spice stand in the Victoria and Albert Museum

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This article discusses the design precedents for a sixteenth-century spice stand in the museum's collections (M.151-1921, Currie Bequest). It investigates the terminology used to describe such pieces at the time, and examines contemporary recipe books, chronicles and literary texts to identify the condiments that it probably contained. The article concludes with a brief look at the issues of etiquette surrounding the use of such spice stands in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Spain. It argues that by this period, condiments such as salt, pepper and sugar were no longer regarded as exclusive markers of wealth and status, and so these social messages were conveyed instead by the quality of the tablewares used to hold them.
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Keywords: Spain; design; dining; eggs; etiquette; tableware

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Victoria and Albert Museum

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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