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


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


62 x 46.5 x 5 cm (24 7/16 x 18 5/16 x 1 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

William J. Fitzgerald Gallery (Gallery 135)





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.


IHS engraved on elliptical boss near tip




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