International Folk Art Foundation Collection in the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
Photograph by Blair Clark.
This coffee pot was cast by the silversmith Miguel Guerra in Guatemala around 1780. Like many of the most skilled silver-workers in Spanish America, Guerra followed European models, but his design is particularly elegant: the sharp body pleats are set off by a swooping, curving handle and spout. While silversmiths of the 17th and 18th century made their reputations with church pieces the public could see—monstrances, retablos, and processional crosses—they welcomed the income from pieces like this one, made for a high-status house. In turn, the vessel bore silent witness the economic foundations of the wealthy Spanish American household—silver was the engine driving the Spanish American economy, supplemented by delectable crops sold at home and abroad like coffee, sugar and chocolate.
Palmer, Gabrielle and Donna Pierce. 1992. Cambios: The Spirit of Transformation in Spanish Colonial Art. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Platería Novohispana: Museo Nacional del Virreinato Tepotzotlán. 1999. Tepotzotlán: Museo Nacional del Virreinato.