Coconut-shell cups were luxury items used for drinking hot chocolate. Cacao beans and chocolate beverages played an important role in Aztec and Maya rituals, and were mostly consumed by members of the nobility. By the seventeenth century, coconut-shell cups, used for drinking hot chocolate, were ubiquitous in the homes of viceregal society. The Spanish penchant for the precious elixir made these artifacts highly desirable exports. Many were fitted with silver bases and handles, and decorated with a range of engraved motifs. Although chocolate was native to the Americas, the coconut palm was introduced to Mexico from Asia in the sixteenth century.
From exhibition Archive of the World, 2022 (for more information see the catalogue entry by Rachel Kaplan in the accompanying publication, cat. no. 89, pp. 338–41)