French Bridal Painting - JP1156

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In 1470, bismuth, a silver-like metal, was mined in Schneeberg, in the Erzgebirge.
One of its first uses was in the production of painting and decorating small coffers,
or cashboxes, and small cabinets with drawers. The bismuth was pulverized to a powder, emulsified with a viscous binding medium, and painted over a gessoed ground. Decorated with semitransparent lacquer or tempera colors, the painting took on a jewel-like quality. Flower patterns spread out over the background, often black, like a carpet or tapestry. Love symbols, paired birds, hearts, entwined hands, or couples, are an indication that most of the pieces were intended as love gifts.