Edward Palmer - Net, “Barcina,” For Carrying Pottery
Net, “Barcina,” For Carrying Pottery
Provenance: Durango, Mexico
Accession Number: 31710
Date Acquired: 1897
Narrative: Agave: A Plant Woven into the Cultural Fabric and Landscape
To this day, indigenous peoples and other local inhabitants of the southwestern United States and Mexico use the Agave for food, drink, soap, and fiber. Palmer was interested in Agaves and collected numerous products made from both wild and cultivated agaves. Palmer was especially interested in pulque, a distilled beverage made from the heart of the agave. He sent this barcina, or net for carrying pottery, made of Agave leaf fibers, to the Smithsonian Institution along with 85 specimens illustrating pulque making and pottery manufacturing, plus 870 specimens of other Mexican plants.
Palmer's Growing Interest in Economic Plants
In the following year (1897), Palmer visited Guaymas in the Mexican state of Sonora and created an extensive list of economically important plants from this region, including medicinal plants from the market (Edward Palmer Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution).