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Journal > Volumes > 48 (2017) / 1 (Spring)
Mounted Coconuts, Bezoars, Slaves, and Chinese Porcelain: The Material Culture of the Donors of the Misericórdia of Porto (1500–1640)
Isabel dos Guimarães Sá
Universidade do Minho

This study focuses on a peripheral port city, Porto, during the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, and examines its connections to the territories of the Portuguese expansion through the consumption of exotic commodities. It covers a period where their diffusion has been mostly observed within court circles and when most European countries did not have contact with such areas. The main sources used are the donations of benefactors to the local Miseric.rdia, a confraternity that connected city dwellers with their deceased relatives in Asia and Brazil, and also received donations from persons who had never travelled overseas. Provincial elites and nonprivileged intermediate groups could acquire exotic commodities, demonstrating that not only the idea of a top-down diffusion must be revised, but also attention must be drawn to the use of those commodities in the self-fashioning of the identities of the less rich and powerful.

Pages: 47 - 65