Mate Cup

Spanish Colonial

Object Place: Uruguay


10.5 x 10 x 7.8 cm (4 1/8 x 3 15/16 x 3 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver, nut

On View

William J. Fitzgerald Gallery (Gallery 135)


Americas, Europe


Silver hollowware

The egg-shaped gourd has a stamped and engraved silver fitting affixed to the upper third of the body. A silver handle, fitted to a fingerlike tendril of the gourd, extends to one side. The cast two-part handle extends upward, in a C shape, toward the rim. Decorated with foliate patterns, the handle terminates in the body of a duck that perches on its tip.

The small growth at the side of this bottle gourd, as well as the one in cat. no. 386, was commonly employed as a handle on mate cups. Silver fittings were added to the finer examples. These forms were particularly favored in Uruguay. A separate ring-shaped base, now lost but often made of silver, was intended to hold the cups upright when not in use.

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.






Collected in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Mr. and Mrs. Edmund P. Graves between 1898 and 1913.

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Ellen Graves, Mrs. Samuel Cabot and Mrs. Roger Ernst in memory of their father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Edmund P. Graves