Item ref: 2407
Private collection, Italy
The former Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru achieved independence from Spain in 1824, but its colonial decorative traditions continued largely unaltered, drawing quite naturally on the earlier colonial styles prevailing throughout Spanish South and Central America. In this way, the designs chased over the silver panels on the present stirrups are in many respects closely related to those found on a variety of luxury silver-covered furniture, boxes and ironwork, much of which dates from the mid-18th century, some earlier still, and all lavished with silver from the abundant sources throughout the region.
Of particular interest are the silver masks which are fitted over the corners of the treads: these are in the form of a native Inca in an elaborate feathered ceremonial headdress. The composition of these closely resembles at least two late 17th century versions of engraved portraits of the last Inca Emperor of Peru, Atahualpha, killed in 1532 by the conquistadors under Francisco Pizarro