Barcelona Cultura

5 extraordinary objects!

Choosing just five objects from the collection of decorative arts and studio pieces was no easy task. And even more so when the collection encompass a time period of 700 years. Today we wanted to present five pieces that, due to their symbolic, historical and design value, are worth getting to know.

Fashion in the 3rd century

The first examples of design we have in the museum come from 3rd-4th century Egypt. These are Coptic fabrics found in the tombs of those from the middle to high class, such as this clavus or Egyptian sash made of wool and flax, which served to ornament Coptic tunics. Thanks to the natural environmental conditions in Egypt, this delicate fabric has managed to survive, even preserving the bright colours you can still see today.

A very «special» dish

A plate made by a Muslim, in Christian lands, commissioned by a Jew. This is the tale that stands behind the plat seder from Teruel (1375-1450) and which is part of the Museum’s ceramic collection from the Iberian Peninsula of the 11th-15th centuries. What was it for? To serve egg, meat, vegetables and other foods during the Jewish Passover or pésah. The hand of Fatima that can be seen which was used by the Jews as a symbol of the protection given by the hand of God.

Order and decoration

With the passing of time, the appearance of our houses has changed and to some degree. However, what similar aspect did they have long ago? In the 16th century, it was very common to have a chest of drawers like this. It was used, on the one hand, to keep the clothes and sheets; on the other, to decorate the house, in this case with the Birth of Christ and the Epiphany painted by the Circle of Pere Nunyes and Enrique Fernández.

Drinking chocolate in tranquillity

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw how a new custom entered palaces and houses: drinking chocolate. It is in this context that, so they say, the Marquis of Mancera (Viceroy of Peru) designed this dish, known as a mancerina in his honour, so that he didn’t spill his chocolate over his elegant clothes. The image is a mancerina from Alcora (1727-1749).

An Art Deco screen


The stars of the screen or room divider «La Creació» are the five continents and five elements. But what is really important with this piece is the technique with which it was decorated: Francesc d'A. Galí was in charge of the drawing, while Oriol Ramon Sarsanedas worked with an age-old technique, urushi lacquer, originating in Japan and China.


You can see these 5 objects at the Extraordinàries! Col·leccions d'arts decoratives i arts d'autor (segles III-XX)  or discover many others in the museum's on-line collection.

Ajuntament de Barcelona