Similar relations may be found at every moment of the history of mediaeval Spain. Another instance may be quoted from the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. When these sovereigns visited Barcelona in 1481, the queen was dressed as follows: - "She advanced riding upon a fine mule, and seated on cushions covered with brocade, rising high above the saddle. Her robe was of gold thread and jewel-work, with a rich brocade skirt. Upon her head she wore a crown of gold adorned with richest diamonds, pearls, rubies, balas rubies, and other stones of passing price." During the same visit, a royal tournament was given in the Plaza del Born, in presence of the aristocracy and wealthy townspeople, "the counts, viscounts, deputies, councillors, caballeros, gentiles hombres, burgesses, and others without number." Ferdinand, who "with virtue and benignity" had deigned to break a lance or two in tourneying with the Duke of Alburquerque, the Count of Benavente, and several gentlemen of Cataluna, was wearing "over his harness a jacket all of gold brocade. His horse's coverings and poitral also were of thread of gold, richly devised and wrought, and of exceeding majesty and beauty. And on his helm he wore a crown of gold, embellished with many pearls and other stones; and above the crown a figure of a large gold bat, which is the emblem of the kings of Aragon and counts of Barcelona, with white and sanguine bars upon the scutcheon.1 The queen and the cardinal of Spain were in a window of the house of Mossen Guillem Pujades, conservator of the realm of Sicily. Her highness wore a robe of rich gold thread with a collar of beautiful pearls; and the trappings of her mule were of brocade."2
Eleven years later the youthful prince, Don Juan, son of these rulers, appeared before the citizens of Barcelona dressed in "a robe of beautiful brocade that almost swept the ground, and a doublet of the same material; the sleeves of the robe thickly adorned with fine pearls of large size." He carried, too, a gold collar of great size and beauty, wrought of large diamonds, pearls, and other stones."3
It was an ancient usage with the people of Barcelona to present a silver service to any member of the royal family who paid a visit to their capital. The service so presented to Ferdinand the Catholic cost the corporation a sum of more than twelve hundred pounds of Catalan money, and included "a saltcellar made upon a rock. Upon the rock is a castle, the tower of which contains the salt..... Two silver ewers, gilt within and containing on the outside various enamelled devices in the centre, together with the city arms. Also a silver-gilt lion upon a rustic palisade of tree-trunks, holding an inscription in his right paw, with the arms of the city, a flag, and a crown upon his head. This object weighs thirty-four marks."1 The service offered on the same occasion to Isabella, though less in weight, was more elaborately wrought, and cost on this account considerably more. It included "two silver ewers, gilt within and enamelled without, bearing the city arms, and chiselled in the centre with various designs of foliage. Also a silver saltcellar, with six small towers, containing at the foot three pieces of enamel-work with the arms of the city in relief. This saltcellar has its lid and case, with a pinnacle upon the lid, and is of silver-gilt inside and out."2
1 Four pallets gules, on a field or; which were the arms of Cataluna and subsequently of Aragon.
2 Archives of the Crown of Aragon.
From about the fifteenth century the goldsmiths and the silversmiths of Barcelona enjoyed considerable fame. Among their names are those of Lobarolla, Roig, Berni, Belloch, Planes, Mellar, Corda, Fabregues, Farran, Perot Ximenis, Rafel Ximenis, Balague, and Antonio de Valdes. Riano quotes the names of many more from Cean's dictionary. The most important facts relating to these artists were brought to light some years ago by Baron Davillier, who based the greater part of his research upon the Libros de Pasantia or silversmiths' examination-books (filled with excellent designs for jewel-work) of Barcelona. These volumes, formerly kept in the college of San Eloy, are now the property of the Provincial Deputation of this city.
1 Sanpere y Miquel, Revista de Ciencias Historicas, art. La Plateria catalana en los siglos XIV. y XV., vol. i. p. 441.
The goldsmiths' and the silversmiths guild of Seville also possesses four of its old examination-books, of which the earliest dates from 1600. Gestoso, in his Dictionary of Sevillian Artificers describes the actual ceremony of examination for a silversmith or goldsmith. Once in every year the members of the guild assembled in their chapel of the convent of San Francisco. Here and upon this day the candidate was closely questioned, to begin with, as to his "purity of blood " - that is, his freedom from contamination by relationship with any Moor or Hebrew. When it was duly and precisely ascertained that he, his parents, and his grandparents were uniformly "old Christians," untainted with the "wicked race of Moors, Jews, heretics, mulattoes, and renegades," and that neither he nor his ancestors had ever been put on trial by the Inquisition or by any other tribunal, "whether publicly or secretly," he was permitted to proceed to his examination proper.1 The formula of this was simple. The candidate was summoned before the board of examiners, consisting of the Padre Mayor or patriarch of the guild, and the two veedores or inspectors, the one of gold-work, the other of silver-work. The book of drawings was then placed upon the table, and a ruler was thrust at haphazard among its leaves. Where the ruler chanced to fall, the candidate was called upon to execute the corresponding drawing to the satisfaction of his judges. Riano lays too slight a stress upon the Moorish and Morisco jewellery of Spain. Although the use of gold and silver ornaments is forbidden by the Koran, the Muslim, wherever his vanity or his bodily comfort is involved, tramples his Bible underfoot almost as regularly, tranquilly, and radically as the Christians do their own. The Moors of Spain were not at all behind their oriental brethren in displaying precious stones and metals on their persons or about their homes. Al-Jattib tells us that the third Mohammed offered to the mosque of the Alhambra columns with capitals and bases of pure silver. Or who does not recall the Caliphate of Cordova; the silver lamp that measured fifty palms across, fitted with a thousand and fifty-four glass lamplets, and swinging by a golden chain from the cupola of the entrance to the mirhab in the vast mezquita; the silver candlesticks and perfume-burners in the same extraordinary temple; the precious stones and metals employed in mighty quantities to decorate the palaces of Az-zahyra and Az-zahra? -
1 Gestoso mentions that Juan de Luna, a silversmith of Seville, was turned into the gutter from the workshop where he was employed, solely because his father had been punished as a Morisco by the Inquisition (Diccionario de Artifices Sevillanos, vol. i. p. lvi.).