botanical study

Massam Corrumpit

Hard outer casing surrounding a somewhat fleshy substance which seems to be sufficient in satiating appetite. When extracted correctly the remaining shell creates a useful vessel.


I have identified this to be a bumpy gourd. It’s interesting that David mentions it’s sufficient to satiate an appetite, could it be Elizabeth that he was testing the food for?


Massam Corrumpit is Latin for Lump

A gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae, particularly Cucurbita and Lagenaria or the fruit of the two genera of Bignoniaceae“calabash tree”, Crescentia and Amphitecna.The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells, and some without. Likely one of the earliest domesticated types of plants, subspecies of the bottle gourd, Lagenaria siceraria, have been discovered in archaeological sites dating from as early as 13,000 BC. Gourds have had numerous uses throughout history, including as tools, musical instruments, objects of art, film, and food.

L. siceraria was brought to Europe and the Americas very early in history, being found in Peruvian archaeological sites dating from 13,000 to 11,000 BC and Thailand sites from 11,000 to 6,000 BC. A study of bottle gourd DNA published in 2005 suggests that there are two distinct subspecies of bottle gourds, domesticated independently in Africa and Asia, the latter approximately 4,000 years earlier. The gourds found in the Americas appear to have come from the Asian subspecies, very early in history; a new study now indicates Africa. The archaeological and DNA records show it likely that the gourd was among the first domesticated species, in Asia between 12,000 and 13,000 BP, and possibly the first domesticated plant species.

Gourds continued to be used throughout history, in almost every culture throughout the world. European contact in North America found extensive gourd use, including the use of bottle gourds as birdhouses to attract purple martins, which provided bug control for agriculture. Almost every culture had musical instruments made of gourds, including drums, stringed instruments common to Africa and wind instruments, including the nose flutes of the Pacific.

Cultures from arid regions often associated gourds with water, and they appear in many creation myths. Since the beginning of their history, they have had a multitude of uses, including food, kitchen tools, toys, musical instruments and decoration. Today, gourds are commonly used for a wide variety of crafts, including jewelry, furniture, dishes, utensils and a wide variety of decorations using carving, burning and other techniques.

The Chinese developed a technique of tying a two-part mould around young gourds, or a part of them, so that the gourd grew into the mould and took its shape. Shaped gourds had various decorative uses, especially as boxes, bottles and other containers.

The Luffa gourds, Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula, have been used throughout recent history as scrubbing sponge and strainer. This is prepared by removing the skin and pulp from the gourd, and bleaching the fibers.

Above: Nuwa and Fuxi Mural, Han Dynasty.

The Great Flood theme, in which a flood almost wipes out the entire human race followed by the procreation of a brother and sister pair to repopulate the earth, is a popular mythological theme in China. Chen Jianxian (1996) said that this theme was one of the more popular legends which was still being told by more than 40 ethnics in China. There is a possibility that the myth is newer than the other Chinese great flood mythologies, because the oldest recorded sources about this myth were from Six Dynasties, save that the oral tradition maybe much older. The myth narrates a brother and sister incest and often confused with the myth of Nüwa and Fuxi (Shan Hai Jing described both the divine ancestors as brother and sister who married each other to populated the earth with human beings). Another version paired Pangu with his unnamed sister as the main characters of this myth.

The theme has several variations, but the outline describes a great flood which destroyed all the humans all over the world except a pair of brother and sister, or aunt and nephew. Both were forced to be married in order to repopulate the world. One version stated that their children were ordinary humans, while the others said it was a lump of meat, gourd, melon, or grindstone; after they opened, cut, or destroyed it, humans emerged.


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