Author Machado de Assis & Marajoara Motif 500 Réis Brazil Authentic Coin Money for Jewelry (Pre-Columbian) (Matrilineal) (Goddess) (1939)
Author Machado de Assis & Marajoara Motif 500 Réis Brazil Authentic Coin Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (Pre-Columbian) (Matrilineal) (Goddess) (1939) (Great Black Author)
Obverse: Portrait de Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908), Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright, short story writer and founder of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
Lettering: MACHADO DE ASSIS
Reverse: Denomination above date encircled by Marajoara motif. The Marajoara or Marajó was an indigenous nation that inhabited the Marajó Island and the Amazon river in the Pre-Columbian era.
Lettering: BRASIL 500 RÉIS
Period Republic of the United States of Brazil (1889-1967)
Type Standard circulation coin
Value 500 Réis (500)
Currency Real (1799-1942)
Weight 5 g
Diameter 22 mm
Thickness 1.85 mm
Orientation Coin alignment ↑↓
Number N# 10709
References KM# 549
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis often known by his surnames as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho (21 June 1839 – 29 September 1908), was a pioneer Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright and short story writer, widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature. Nevertheless, Assis did not achieve widespread popularity outside Brazil during his lifetime. In 1897 he founded and became the first President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. He was multilingual, having taught himself French, English, German and Greek in later life.
Born in Morro do Livramento, Rio de Janeiro from a poor family, he was the grandson of freed slaves in a country where slavery would not be fully abolished until 49 years later. He barely studied in public schools and never attended university. With only his own intellect to rely on, and largely self-taught, he struggled to rise socially. To do so, he took several public positions, passing through the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Public Works, and achieving early fame in newspapers where he published his first poetry and chronicles.
Machado's work shaped the realism movement in Brazil. He became known for his wit and his eye-opening critiques of society. Generally considered to be Machado's greatest works are Dom Casmurro (1899), Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas ("Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas", also translated as Epitaph of a Small Winner) and Quincas Borba (also known in English as Philosopher or Dog?). In 1893 he published "A Missa do Galo" ("Midnight Mass"), often considered to be the greatest short story in Brazilian literature. American literary critic Harold Bloom included Machado de Assis in his list of 100 geniuses of literature. Bloom considers him the greatest black writer in Western literature.
The Marajoara or Marajó culture was an ancient pre-Columbian era civilization that flourished on Marajó island at the mouth of the Amazon River in northern Brazil. In a survey, Charles C. Mann suggests the culture appeared to flourish between 800 AD and 1400 AD, based on archeological studies. Researchers have documented that there was human activity at these sites as early as 1000 BC. The culture seems to have persisted into the colonial era.
Archeologists have found sophisticated pottery in their excavations on the island. These pieces are large, and elaborately painted and incised with representations of plants and animals. These provided the first evidence that a complex society had existed on Marajó. Evidence of mound building further suggests that well-populated, complex and sophisticated settlements developed on this island, as only such settlements were believed capable of such extended projects as major earthworks.
The pre-Columbian culture of Marajó may have developed social stratification and supported a population as large as 100,000 people. The Native Americans of the Amazon rain forest may have used their method of developing and working in terra preta to make the land suitable for the large-scale agriculture needed to support large populations and complex social formations such as chiefdoms.
Art and symbolism
The most common motif found in Marajoara iconography involves female imagery (Roosevelt 1991: 410-415).
Females as mythical ancestors, creators, cultural heroes
Females portrayed in shamanistic roles and with shamanistic power
These female motifs are typically found on ceramic artifacts, either pottery vessels or statues (Roosevelt 1991).
The prominence of female imagery in Marajoara iconography suggests that women were not of a lower status than men and were actually highly valued (Roosevelt 1991: 411).
However, the female emphasis of iconography doesn’t exclude the possibility of a strong gender dichotomy, as demonstrated by some contemporary Amazonians (Roosevelt 1991: 413).