Standing Cup (copa)



Object Place: Peru


9 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 5 1/16 in. (25.1 x 17.2 x 12.8 cm); Troy wt: 17 oz 2 dwt 8 gr (532.4 gm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

William J. Fitzgerald Gallery (Gallery 135)




Silver hollowware

The tall standing cup has a deep raised bowl with a rounded base and high everted sides. The slim, cast baluster stem is bolted into high stepped bases with splayed circular feet. Stylized floral designs are chased on the bowl and foot. Cast, scrolled foliate handles are surmounted by cast llamas, seen in profile, that face toward the cup.

Large standing cups such as these, with inordinately deep bowls, fanciful handles, and florid decoration, probably date from the mid- to late nineteenth century. These secular objects were often fashioned in pairs, and they may have served a matrimonial role in the Peruvian highlands.
The pair of cast llamas that form the decorative handles are but two of many native and exotic animals that appear frequently on hollowware made during the nineteenth century
in the Peruvian highlands and Argentina. These delightful figures were often added to the lips of mate cups and other drinking vessels. Dangling elements or bells, now lost, probably hung from a ring that forms an integral part of each cast handle.

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.






April 14, 1975, sold by Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York, to Landon T. Clay, Boston [see note]; 2001, year-end gift of Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2002)

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 August 5, 1975). The donor, however, later recalled that he purchased it from the Edward Merrin Gallery, New York.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay