Mate (Mah-tay), Mate (Mah-tay) Man

A clever statue shows an old-fashioned depiction of Argentina’s national drink.

Kerry Dooley Young
3 min readFeb 25, 2024
Author photo of a rather steampunk take on Argentina’s national beverage by sculptor Gerónimo Rodríguez

The metal statue by sculptor Geronimo Rodriguez is vaguely steampunk in spirit, showing a man preparing Argentina’s national drink with a big kettle.

Today it’s all about the plastic thermos. People routinely walk around Argentina carrying with them thermoses filled with hot water, cups made of gourds and metal straws. These are needed for a proper drink of mate (pronounced mah-tay), a tea made of leaves of a plant cultivated in northern Argentina, Paraguay and some parts of southern Brazil.

Mate gourd and bombilla, author photo

How ubiquitous is mate in Argentina?

I inadvertently captured an image of a man drinking mate about two weeks ago when I snapped one of my photos of this statue.

This afternoon I’d just written in an accompanying post on Substack that I had never taken photos of people preparing and drinking mate because it seems like it would be rude and a little weird to ask.

And then I realized that yes, of course, there was someone drinking mate in my photo of the Monument to Mate. Look…



Kerry Dooley Young

Professional journalist writing for fun on Medium. Digs kindness, art, food, cities, democracy and business. Home base is D.C., but I do like to wander.