The Museum Plantin-Moretus has a rich collection of antique furniture. Three items in the collection definitely belonged to the Moretus family: a table inlaid with tortoiseshell and two curio cabinets from the seventeenth century. This is one of these two cabinets.
Curio cabinets or cantoren (the old Dutch word for them) were a well-known Antwerp product until well into the seventeenth century. They were exported in large numbers. A luxury cabinet like this was ideal for keeping important documents and small valuables such as jewellery, coins or textiles. This is why they often had secret drawers and false bottoms.
This cabinet, dating from around 1675, is made of rosewood and ebony. It is also richly ornamented with tortoiseshell, ivory and gilt bronze. Underneath, it is propped up by four Moors, in a learned allusion to the name Moretus. We can therefore be sure that it was made for a Moretus. On the white marble panels are 23 Biblical scenes painted by Hans Jordaens.