silver bombilla mate - South America

silver bombilla mate Yerba Mate (pronounced "yerba mahtay") is a medicinal and cultural drink of ancient origins. Introduced to the world by the Guarani Indians of South America, Mate contains ingredients that help keep its drinkers healthy and energetic.
Mate became the most common ingredient in household cures of the Guarani, and now, more than a drink, Yerba Mate has become a cultural phenomenon throughout South America.
In current practice in modern Argentina and Paraguay, Mate tea is made from the leaves steeped in hot water.
Actually, a large quantity of ground leaf is first soaked in cold water, then the hot water is added, over and over again, until all the good stuff has been extracted.
In between each addition of hot water the tea is ingested through a special wood or metal straw, called a bombilla, that filters out the leafy material. It is also used as a cold beverage.
 'Mate y bombilla', silver cast and chiselled, silversmith Horacio Bertero Yerba Mate (literally, the "Mate Herb") gets its name from the traditional cup (called Mate as well) used to drink it.
This cup, originally a dried and decorated gourd, can be made out of almost anything these days and in South America Maté is still sipped using a metal or wood bombilla.
On the right 'Mate y bombilla', silver cast and chiselled, silversmith Horacio Bertero
The dictionary of the Spanish Academy defines the word bombilla as:
thin tube that is used to suck the maté in America, it has about twenty centimeters long and half a centimeter of diameter and the end of the tube where the liquid is introduced is almond-like full of little holes, so that the infusion passes but not the dried leaves (yerba) of the maté.
There are also bombillas made of silver or gold. The Paraguayan Indian called it at the beginning, in his language (Guaraní) 'tacuapí'

This silver 'bombilla' is marked '800' (800/1000 silver) but I ignore its origin and age (your help would be greatly appreciated). Presumably it was made in Argentina or South America.
The 'bombilla' is 8 1/2 in. high (cm. 21) and was bought from an US dealer through the Internet.
This item is not for sale, but most of my pieces were bought through the Internet. On the bottom and on the right bar of this page there are some links related to yerba mate
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