The Bargueño , a piece of furniture that emerged between the 16th and 17th centuries in Spain , due to its deep work and excessive decoration, is located in the stage of the Baroque period.


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  • 1 History
    • 1 Origin
    • 2 Denominations
    • 3 The Bargueño in Cuba
  • 2 Shape
  • 3 Typologies
    • 1 First Type
    • 2 Second Type
  • 4 Sources



The origin of this piece of furniture is still questionable among experts, some say that its birth is located in the city of Salamanca , but the closest theory suggests that the piece of furniture comes from the town of Bargas, in the Province of Toledo, belonging to the Autonomous Community from Castilla la Mancha, Spain and most likely this masterpiece of cabinetmaking was made throughout Spain in the period between the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The furniture is said to have roots in the Spanish-Arabic chest. In Europe this type of furniture was already well known but under the name of cabinet, but it did not have the same number of drawers or the Moorish decoration characteristic of the Spanish.


The first time the name of Bargueño appeared was in the Catalog of Spanish Artistic Objects of the Albert and Victorian Museum in London , written by the Spanish architect and historian Juan Facundo Riaño in 1872. About the denomination there are several different theories. Many experts have stopped calling this beautiful piece of furniture from Barcelona, ​​and insist on simply calling them desks. Certainly a less controversial denomination and of descriptive advantage since the bargueño was, specifically, a mobile desk with a cover, two side handles and keys to prevent access to outsiders. We could describe it as the typical laptop of the time, with the difference that it is also a highly decorative piece of furniture in which the usefulness of its elements is not incompatible with artistic work. If you do without the lid and the handles, it takes the name of trash or counter. The bargueño is the prototype of a Spanish piece of furniture that is part of a European tradition,

The Bargueño in Cuba

A specimen is on display in the Cuban Historical Environment Museum , located on Santo Tomás street between Aguilera and Heredia street in Santiago de Cuba , an institution that has a notable collection of furniture from the Spanish golden period (16th and 17th centuries) .


The bargueño is a rectangular structure that normally consists of cross-shaped legs and a hinged lid that hides an endless number of compartments of different sizes, some of them secret, made of fine wood inlaid with bone, giving it the appearance of an altarpiece for its profuse and delicate decoration. It consists of two bodies, the upper one of which is a desk or cabinet with ironwork on the outside, and its interior divided into small departments and drawers flanked by small columns, especially in the center. The lower body is a table with a chambrana or crossbar and then it is called a bridge cabinet, or it is a compact piece of furniture with doors or drawers, and it is called a box office cabinet. This piece of furniture was essentially made of walnut wood, the decorations on the furniture vary in materials and shapes, but geometric figures were widely used although there are many with floral motifs and others with mythological scenes. Its function is quite obvious due to its structure, depending on the type of bargueño it was used as a desk, a piece to store valuable objects, wedding items and money, or only for monetary values ​​and important documents.


There are two types of bargueños within the innumerable design variations. From the established parameters we can distinguish between these two types by observing the organization of the drawers and doors, arranged in rows horizontally or vertically.

First Type

In the first type, called basic, the drawers are organized horizontally, generally consisting of rows of three, the upper one in turn consisting of three or more horizontal drawers, while the central row, which is normally the highest, alternates horizontal drawers with one or two vertical ones, that is to say that the height is more important than the width of the drawer, which can give the impression that it is a door and not a drawer in addition to two doors, one at each end. Finally, the lower row has five drawers: two horizontal, superimposed, on each side, flanking a central, door-type drawer. The novelty of these bargueños is, precisely in these vertical drawers that look like doors, flanked by columns. They also stand out for the depth due to the large size of the bargueño. This first group of bargueños is distinguished from the second by a greater clarity in the composition of the interior. That is, the arrangement of the compartments responds to what appears to be more established lines, perhaps union. However, there are variations within this first group. For example: there are simpler arrangements made up of only two horizontal rows of three drawers and in them a double height central body with two side doors and four central drawers.

Second Type

The second group responds to an evolution of the first, something that occurs throughout the seventeenth century , according to the European fashions of the moment and as the man from Bargueño becomes more popular. Specifically, we can recognize a bargueño of this second type by the vertical arrangement of its doors and drawers. In principle, on three vertical streets. The two extreme streets are made up of horizontal drawers and the central street is made up of a large central portal; a lower row with horizontal and square drawers. The front of the horizontal drawers is usually divided into two, with two handles. In this group, the so-called paper mills or accountants abound, although in the two types there are indistinctly those that can be accountants or desks


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