This charming example of Pietra Dura depicts a wine merchant holding his wares in each arm. The frame is new, but the mid-1800s label is on the back of the piece. Dimensions are 9 x 5-1/8 inches, sight size, and 10-1/2 x 6-1/2 inches framed. Pietra dura is an Italian phrase that means "hard stone" and refers to the technique of creating intricate inlaid pictures from shaped colored stones. The stones used are usually silicates, including agates, alabaster, amethyst, jade, jasper, lapis lazuli, malachite, onyx, and topaz. The craft, developed in antiquity, originally consisted of shaping stones with small saws, wires and other metal instruments and adding them to decorative objects such as vases or small sculptures. The art was revived during the Renaissance by Italian craftsmen and the first hard-stone workshop was established by the Medici family in Florence in 1588, also practiced at the courts of Naples, Madrid, Prague, Paris and elsewhere. From the late 16th century, the colorful stones were arranged on furniture as landscapes and flower scenes.