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by AUGUSTO MARCELINO REYES GONZALEZ III These candleholders of worked Mexican silver 80% (Filipinas, unlike Spain’s Latin American colonies, did not have silver mines) usually stood on the two levels (gradillas) of traditional Roman Catholic church altars, three on either side of the tabernacle (where the all–important Blessed Sacrament is stored) alternating with three ramilletes (artificial flower bouquets in paper, silk, or silver). That meant twelve candleholders and twelve ramilletes on the two levels of the altar. A rich church like the seven churches of Intramuros --- San Agustin, Recoletos, San Francisco, Venerable Orden Tercera, Santo Domingo, San Ignacio, Lourdes --- and rich parishes like those of Binondo, Santa Cruz, Tondo, Quiapo, Antipolo, Binan (Laguna), Majayjay (Laguna), et al meant that all of the altar frontals, candleholders (small and large), and ramilletes were all crafted out of exquisitely worked Mexican silver 80%, usually post–1764 (post–British Occupation 1762–64). Such was the staggering wealth of Spanish Catholic Filipinas. This engraved Mexican silver 80% candleholder of Filipino workmanship is a rare survivor of a confused culture that has allowed many of its greatest masterpieces in silver and other metals to be destroyed and melted down in the crucibles of Meycauayan, Bulacan. As mentioned beforehand, it once adorned a magnificent altar in a great church. Today, it becomes an exquisite lamp base in an expensively–appointed residence.