Design by Gabriele Valvassori 1683 – 1761 Italian architect (engraved by Filipo Vasconi 1728) ; Prima [first] machina / festival platform for CHINEA horse / Papal tribute festa

Malta - Collection Only


The print shows a ‘Chinea’ Festa temporary building , replica triumphal arch. Its the prime machina of the ‘Chinea’ meaning the  first new bi-annual festival building , with probably mechanical devices for fire or fireworks. For further details see our website ; From the time of the Norman conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily in the eleventh century, sovereigns of the unified realm offered tribute to the papacy in the form of a sum of money, and a white horse called the Chinea. The rendering of homage became a regular feature of Neapolitan diplomacy in the course of the seventeenth century. From 1689 forward, members of the Roman Colonna family were selected almost without exception to serve as ambassadors-extraordinary for the absent monarch. This involved not only the payment of homage, but a procession through Rome, fireworks displays, concerts, disbursements of free wine, and receptions held for prelates, members of the Roman nobility, and Neapolitan subjects resident in Rome. Thus, diplomacy occurred within the context of a festival. Indeed, the name of the white horse came to refer to the entire event, which normally occurred on the vigil and feast of SS. Peter and Paul. The presentation of the Chinea also included the erection of temporary architectural structures, which were used as bases for fireworks displays. These structures, made of a wooden armature onto which painted canvas and paper were tacked, and into which some stucco figures were set, have not survived. Etched images related to the structures do exist, and enable modern viewers to gain some idea of the built forms.

Please complete the form to get in touch.

Please read the Terms and Conditions before submitting