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The Material World of the Estrado in Spanish America

The estrado, usually a wooden raised platform with a precious carpet on top and furnished with cushions, low tables, and small case furniture, was the feminine space at home per excellence in the Spanish world. It originated in medieval Islamic Spain and later was widely adopted across the Iberian Peninsula. By the early 1300s, the estrado became clearly identified as the woman s intimate place in domestic settings, there women would spend the day doing needlework, reading, praying, or entertaining close acquaintances. Estrados in Spanish America had a lifespan of nearly three centuries. Arising as expression and embodiment of the Spanish ideals of the feminine world at home in the 1500s, they reflected how long-established Iberian uses were transplanted and adapted in the Americas.

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