Coca Box (Coquera)

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Coca Box (Coquera)

Bolivia, possibly Moxos or Chiquitos, circa 1770
Furnishings; Accessories
Cast and chased wood and silver
7 1/4 x 9 x 9 1/4 in. (18.42 x 22.86 x 23.5 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund (M.2007.30)
Currently on public view:
Art of the Americas Building, floor 4 MAP IT
Art of the Americas Building, floor 4

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Curator Notes

Coca boxes were typically used to store coca leaves, which were chewed in Peru before the arrival of the Spaniards and continued to be consumed in colonial times....
Coca boxes were typically used to store coca leaves, which were chewed in Peru before the arrival of the Spaniards and continued to be consumed in colonial times. They could also be used to store yerba maté tea and sweets. Most coca boxes were made of silver, but a few wood examples survive from the Jesuit missions in Moxos and Chiquitos in Bolivia, which were established to convert and educate the natives and train them in arts and crafts. The wooden boxes would originally have been covered with silver leaf to resemble the more expensive gold and silver versions. Ilona Katzew, 2008
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Bibliography

  • Kirkham, Pat and Susan Weber, eds. History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000. New York: Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture; New Haven; London; Yale University Press, 2013.