Former Gold Assaying Office and Royal Foundry (Gold Museum)
Sabará, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Equipment and Infrastructures
In each of the four judicial districts of Minas Gerais, there used to be a Casa de Intendência, also named Casa de Fundição (Gold Assaying Office and Foundry), since it was there that gold was collected, weighed and quintado (that is, the fifth part was set aside for the Crown), after which it was smelted into bullion bearing the royal seal. There is information stating that the building of the Intendência e Casa de Fundição (Gold Assaying Office and Royal Foundry) of Sabará was built around 1720 by the army officer Faustino Rebelo Perdigão. It is a sobrado made of adobe and rammed earth, whitewashed and with door and window frames and pillars painted in blue. On the ground floor, where the gold was smelted and stored, the floor is covered with river pebbles, following an “old Portuguese tradition of Mediterranean and Arab origin”. The upper floor was the home of the assayer and his family. The ceiling of the main room is embellished with an interesting allegorical painting depicting the four continents. The Sabará Assaying Office functioned from 1735 to 1833, when the body was then abolished and the building was sold at public auction and converted into a school. In 1940, it belonged to the Companhia Siderúrgica Belgo-Mineira, which donated it to the federal government. The following year, SPHAN restored the building in order to house the Gold Museum, opened in 1945.