Item Records

This page shows all the information we have about this item. Both the institution that physically holds this item, and RRN members have contributed the knowledge on this page. You’re looking at the item record provided by the holding institution. If you scroll further down the page, you’ll see the information from RRN members, and can share your own knowledge too.

The RRN processes the information it receives from each institution to make it more readable and easier to search. If you’re doing in-depth research on this item, be sure to take a look at the Data Source tab to see the information exactly as it was provided by the institution.

These records are easy to share because each has a unique web address. You can copy and paste the location from your browser’s address bar into an email, word document, or chat message to share this item with others.

  • Data
  • Data Source

This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


Painted gourd dish. Dish is light with a very thin wall, oblong in shape. From a rounded bottom the dish flares toward the rim. Vessel is painted a shiny black on both interior and exterior, with an incised decoration in a wide strip around the rim. Pattern is of a dense set of thick wavy lines with a scalloped edge below.The decoration is unpainted, and left a raw light brown.

History Of Use

Gourds have several uses: as food recipients, vases, fruit plates or planters, or for bathing or removing water from canoes. Painted gourds have been documented as an indigenous art form in Amazonia since the 17th century. Gourd painting was slowly appropriated by settler communities over time, but had become rare by the early 21st century. In 2004, the Ministry of Culture of Brazil launched a project to revitalize this women’s knowledge and practice in communities around Santarém, in the state of Pará. Calabash gourd making processes in the Lower Amazon were classified as Brazilian intangible cultural heritage in 2015.

Specific Techniques

The gourds are made from the non-edible fruit of the calabash tree (Crescentia cujete). The fruit is cut in half and emptied. It is then polished inside and out with the scales of the fish locally known as pirarucu (Arapaima gigas). The outside surface is further polished with leaves of the imbauba tree (genus Cecropia). Once dried, polished and decorated, gourds have several uses: as food recipients, vases, fruit plates or planters, or for bathing or removing water from canoes. There are two types of modern gourds: the pitinga or natural gourd and the tingida, the painted or tainted gourd. The latter is dyed with cumatê, a natural extract from the bark of the axuazeiro tree (Myrcia atramentífera). Both natural and painted gourds are decorated with incisions.

Item History

With an account, you can ask other users a question about this item. Request an Account

With an account, you can submit information about this item and have it visible to all users and institutions on the RRN. Request an Account

Similar Items