Gourd Art

The gourd plant has been described as one of nature’s greatest gifts to mankind. Of all the known plants the gourd is the only one experts believe spanned the entire globe in prehistoric times. The very earliest gourd specimens are seeds and fragments that were unearthed in Peru, dating from 10,000 BC. Gourds played an important role in the changes that took place as humans became tool users and masters of their environment. Gourds were used as containers long before baskets or pottery served that purpose. Gourds were used to store every manner of supplies, wet and dry, food and utility, domestic and otherwise. Since hauling and storing of water was a paramount concern, gourd dippers, ladles and containers were widely used. Gourds were used as musical instruments. The forms they took were remarkably diverse. Most of the instruments, while ancient in origin, are still being used today in many forms throughout the world. The types of decorations that have been used to embellish the gourd are as diverse as the application and the cultures that employed them.