The Story Behind One of the Oldest Pieces in the Chateau Domingue Collection…

A 14th c. Benetier carved with neolithic tools, is one of our oldest finds at Chateau Domingue. The craftsman who carved this sink with a primitive chisel saw his way of life dramatically altered by the decisions of powerful people from across the Mediterranean.

The origins of Canary Island natives are a bit of a mystery – Phoenicians who landed there found an empty island with abandoned structures dotting the volcanic coastline. Centuries later, when Europeans arrived, they found indigenous people etching out a subsistence with neolithic tools.

Named the Guanches by European explorers, the Canary Island natives lived in caves along the rocky coastline. Even into the 18th century, cave dwellings remained the customary home for Guanches.

Catholic missionaries built the first mission in the Canaries in the 14th century, and this Benetier hails from San Cristóbal de la Laguna during that early period of colonialism.

The Benetier features primitive carvings of the 12 apostles on its exterior, each holding symbolic religious artifact.

A Benetier is a vessel constructed to hold water blessed by the parish priest for use in church rituals. Reclaimed Benetiers are now used by interior designers as sinks, adding a dramatic focal point to newly renovated powder room.

The Benetier measures 9” wide and 9” deep, a basin depth of 4.75” was carved from the dense local stone. Visitors can wash their hands in the same vessel used by 14th c. parish priests to christen babies and baptise the newly converted indigenous people of the Canary Islands.

Contact us to bring home this amazing artifact from the Spanish colonial period.

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