26 Photos - Jul 13, 2012
Photo: Examples of a modern gourd crafters creations.Photo: Painting, carving, staining, polishing are only a few of the decorative options.  Many of these transfer directly to ceramic production.Photo: One with Chinese script as decoration.Photo: Decorative elements with a 'southwestern' flavor- engraving, painting and polishing.Photo: Commercial gourd decoration.  Wonder where it is from?Photo: Elephants and giraffes - must be from Africa. Or, at least, Africa influenced.Photo: A modern crafter with cutouts and elaborate decoration using 'multimedia'.  Closeup follows.Photo: Out of focus but multimedia composition with gourd as its primary element.Photo: Gourd with seasonal message.Photo: A small gourd requires smaller decorations.Photo: Multimedia, multiple decorative elements and executions. It is easy to see how gourds lead to ceramics with common decorative strategies and design elements.Photo: A Texas cutout (decoration may tell you something about the items 'origins' or influence) - just as in ceramics in archaeology.Photo: More elaborate decorative elements providing an even more 3-dimensional structure.Photo: There is no end to the imaginative possibilities.Photo: The source. White flowered bottle gourd vine. They get massive and put out extensive runners. (June 2012). Our interest in bottle gourds stemmed from finding their remains at the Windover site in Brevard County, Florida http://www.anthro.fsu.edu/pdf/doranetal1990gourd.pdfPhoto: Lagenaria siceraria - white flowered bottle gourd vine. The plant has a real musky aroma and can have runners 50 ft. long. As one of the oldest domesticated plants around there is some interesting DNA work being done http://www.anthro.fsu.edu/pdf/PNAS-2005-Erickson-18315-20gourd.pdfPhoto: Blossoms are white and large.Photo: These things can easily get out of control in a small garden. Though seemingly prolific growers,  they appear to require some human attention to keep them growing year after year.Photo: These vines can get massive and this one is getting ready to be pulled.  It came up from compost used as fertilizer and may be telling us something about early domestication and how plants could be transported around the world.Photo: To increase gourd size people pinch off unwanted gourds and only let a few reach maturity - which will be in the fall.  They require 160 days (or so) frost free weather so there is a northern limit to their production.Photo: A leaf about 14 inches across. They can completely cover supporting plants and sprawl over a large territory.Photo: Decorated gourds are still popular and are imported and shipped all around the world.  Staining, painting and burning are all decorative techniques that go back thousands of years.   These are from South America and were for sale at Jackalope in Sante Fe, New Mexico (import, export, 'stuff').    Buffalo and guanaco along with birds and deer are illustrated in some of these gourds.Photo: Several bottle gourds (on the shelf at the left).  In the FSU Anthropology curation facility.Photo: Gourd replicas from Sannai-Maruyama site in northern Japan (a really nice museum).  Asian bottle gourds were eaten and apparently the New World varieties never were (they have a bitter compound in them). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sannai-Maruyama_sitePhoto: African Lagenaria rattles decorated with cowarie shells.Photo: Cucurbitacea is the family/genus and they are a prolific groups with wild variation - domesticated especially are variable.  Mammoths apparently liked them and may have spread the seeds in great rich piles of manure.