Gourds have been traditionally used by most of the Mesoamerican cultures to drink liquids and food out of it.
Sadly, with the introduction of plastic, it is being rapidly displaced. Even though this craft provides an excellent alternative to disposable drinking cups.
It is still commonly seen as a kitchen utensil and often perforated to be used as a pichancha (strainer).
Jicara (Cresentia Cujete), as it is commonly known in many rural parts of Mexico, is a round fruit that is dried and then cut in half to make a jícara, name that is also given to a clay cup.
Bule or guaje, as it is known in México, is a calabash tree (Lagenaria siceraria), also known as the bottle gourd. The fruit is dried and carved hollow to create a container to carry water around like a canteen.
Beyond its function, many artisans have used the gourds as a means of artistic expression and have carved beautiful motifs.
The word jícara comes from the Nahuatl xicalli, meaning cup made out of fruit. While the process for making jícaras may seem fairly simple, it is a laborious and time-consuming craft.