Ornamental plaque (mariola or maya), one of a pair

1740–50


Object Place: Moxos or Chiquitos missions, Alto Peru (present-day Bolivia)

Dimensions

61.2 x 45.4 x 4.8 cm (24 1/8 x 17 7/8 x 1 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

1992.348

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

William J. Fitzgerald Gallery (Gallery 135)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver

The almond-shaped plaque is bilaterally symmetrical. The flowers, a pair of long-necked birds, and a central figure have been repousséd and chased to create a form in high relief. The floral element appears to be the passion flower. Several holes appear along the central axis of the plaque.


An old woman with drooping breasts forms the central decorative element of this plaque. She is the hombre verde, or green figure or grotesquerie, who emerges from a budlike form (see also cat. no. 376).

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

IHS on elliptical boss near tip

Markings

None.

Provenance

April 14, 1975, sold by Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York, to Landon T. Clay, Boston [see note]; 1992, gift of Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 24, 1992)

NOTE: According to Alphonse Jax at the time of the sale, this entered the United States from Argentina and was cleared by U.S. Customs on April 7, 1975 (first lent to the MFA on April 10, 1975). The donor, however, later recalled that he purchased it from the Edward Merrin Gallery, New York.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay