A very rare 18th century Spanish colonial coquera. A coquera, for those unfamiliar, is a type of elaborate table top box manufactured for the storage of coca leaves and yerba maté.
The coca plant, revered as a divine gift from Mother Earth, has been cultivated in the lower altitudes of the eastern Andes for millennia. In addition to the important role coca plays in religion, the ceremonial and habitual chewing of the sacred leaf also has medicinal applications, acting as a mild stimulant that suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, asthma, malaria, fatigue and altitude sickness.
Since the dawn of the colonial period propertied aristocrats and the viceroyalty of Alto Peru have availed themselves of these beautiful boxes, consuming their contents as an after dinner digestif. While no two are alike, the unique characteristic features of this coquera include elaborate panels of marquetry inlay and the original interior surfaces, hand painted in cochineal.
Dimensions: 9 inches long x 6 inches wide x 5 inches high.
Condition: in overall excellent condition with only minor loss.
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