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History of the Curio Cabinet



A curio is a small decorative object that is novel, rare or of curiosity. The term curio cabinet became popular during the 18th century with the construction of small cabinets for the express purpose of displaying curio. However, the use of cabinetry to display art and items of interest dates back to the 16th century.

In the 16th century some of the decadent cabinetry of the Flemish Renaissance included hidden drawers, small compartments and doors for displaying works of art and interest. These cabinets were in the height of fashion into the 17th century.

This type of cabinet was also greatly popular with the Dutch in the 17th century. A favorite design was an elongated rectangular body with two doors on four spiral legs with bun feet.