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Coca-Leaf Box

Arts of the Americas

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
The drinks served in the Spanish American estrado varied from region to region. In South America coca-leaf teas and yerba maté, a tea-like beverage made from the dried leaves of a mild stimulant, were favored. Indispensable for preparing and serving these drinks were boxes and tea caddies for the herbs, silver water heaters called pavas, silver filtering straws called bombillas, and silver maté cups. The shapes of these maté cups reflect those of local gourds, which were originally used to serve the beverage.


Las bebidas servidas en el estrado hispanoamericano variaban de región en región. En Sudamérica se favorecían las infusiones de hoja de coca y de yerba mate, una bebida estimulante suave parecida al té hecha con las hojas secas de un arbusto sudamericano. Indispensables para preparar y servir estas bebidas eran las cajas y los contenedores para las hierbas, los calentadores de agua de plata llamados pavas, las pajillas de plata para filtrar llamadas bombillas y tazas de plata para el mate. La forma de estas tazas para el mate refleja la de las calabazas locales, que originalmente se usaban para servir la bebida.
MEDIUM Wood with wood inlays, metal, and cloth
DATES 18th century
DIMENSIONS 5 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 8 7/8in. (14 x 18.1 x 22.5cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
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CAPTION Coca-Leaf Box, 18th century. Wood with wood inlays, metal, and cloth, 5 1/2 x 7 1/8 x 8 7/8in. (14 x 18.1 x 22.5cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.7. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 41.1275.7_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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Coca-Leaf Box