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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Central American ➔ Gourd Dish

This dish is made from a gourd and features a black background with floral designs of pink, blue, orange, and green. It is lacquered and has a red interior. 

This dish demonstrates an art form that has been practiced in Mexico for more than 500 years. Hard gourd plants are skinned, hollowed, cleaned, dried, and then painted inside and out. Earlier artists covered the fruit with a thick layer of color then painted a second coat in a different shade. The designers would scratch away the surface creating elaborate patterns while magically revealing the undertone. In modern times, painters use multiple colors to highlight scenes of birds, flowers, and nature. The same techniques are applied to maracas and other gourd instruments made in Mexico. Both functional and fancy, the tradition of painting these plants continues to be passed from one generation to the next, sealing its place in Mesoamerican culture. 
Gourd, Paint
3" h
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Gift Of Miss Louise Schweitzer

Discovery Kit: Foodways (October 25 2019)
Discovery Kits include a variety of artifacts and specimens from the Museum’s Collection that allow students to investigate global and local objects. The Collections support the Museum’s mission of inspiring curiosity and discovery around science, history, and culture. Each kit includes objects from the Museums archives, helpful resources and suggested activities. Discovery Kits are a great way for teachers to incorporate primary source and object-based learning into the classroom or as a way to prepare for or extend a Museum visit.    

Virtual Discovery Kit: Foodways (May 2020)
Food is a universal language. Discover how cultures around the world work in the kitchen.
Louise Schweitzer