Header for Resources for Teachers


Inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome: Spice Container

Spice Container

Antonio Recarey y Caamano (1782-1799)
Cast, chiseled silver
Mexico City
c. 1810
15 x 21 x10 cm

Made in Mexico this silver container reflects the neoclassical style that was prevalant in Europe at the time.


The purpose of this container was to hold spices. The piece has three parts; the lid, bowl, and stand. The lid fits precisely over the bowl. The bowl is centered on its base. It is an oval-shaped vessel with slender handles and has a bell-shaped stand..

Technique or Process

This spice container was made from cast silver. Tools called chisels were used to carve out the designs seen on the lid, body and stand.

Cultural roots

This vessel was made in Mexico about 1810. It is a reproduction of a classic English design that is charactereized by its oval shaped base, slender handles, and bell-shaped stand. During this time in Mexico, colonial decorative arts were created by silversmiths who were heavily influenced by the British architect Robert Adams. Adams patterned his buildings and furniture after the ancient art of Greece and Rome. These neoclassical designs were popular in Europe during the 19th century. The spice container is decorated with ancient Greek and Roman motifs. The laurel leaves on its base and the pineapple top with a bed of leaves under it are examples of these neoclassical motifs used by the craftsmen in New Spain

Lesson Plans
Visual Arts Lesson: Creating a frottage of a classic spice container.
Extension Activities

Math: Determine the weight of three different spices in the same container on a scale. Find out how much each weighs and chart the results on a line or bar graph.

Language Arts:
Pretend you are a food editor for Epicurious Food. Critique a new dessert made from Mexican chocolate.

Social Studies:
Make a map of trade routes shoing what spices were imported into Mexico and what spices were exported from Mexico to China, Philippines and Europe.


image of a line divider
Home | Handbook | Lesson Plans | Games and Activities
Exhibition | Collectors and their Collections | For Teachers | Cultural Exchange | For Families | Timeline | About this Website | Site Map
Museum of Fine Arts Houston | College of Education, UH

Graphic links to MFAH, College of Education and University of Houston

link to museum of fine arts houston link to college of education at the university of houston link to the university of Houston website
Link to home page of The Granduer of Vice Regal Mexico