Outline of Exhibition

Traditional plants of the Seasons:
Summer - Uri and Hyoutan

Members of the cucurbits family such as oriental melons, cucumbers, and certain gourds known as "uri" in Japanese, and other gourds known as "hyoutan" have since ancient times been an important part of people's lives. Uri were first brought to Japan during the Yayoi period and have been cultivated as vegetables and fruits. Historically, there have been a wide variety of uri cultivated in Japan, ranging from wild melons to the oriental melon (Cucumis melo L. var. makuwa makino), white melon (var. conomon makino), momordica melon (var. momordica), and the musk melon (cucumis melo), and people's tastes and uses for uri varied from age to age. Hyoutan, on the other hand, were introduced to Japan during the early Jomon period and have been a part of Japanese life for over ten thousand years. Although sometimes grown for food, they have mainly been cultivated for use as vessels. These facts have been revealed to us through archeological findings and documentary records, but they can also be confirmed in the form of "living records" - strains with physical and genetic characteristics of ancient varieties that have survived in various regions throughout Japan.

The National Museum of Japanese History has collected uri and hyoutan strains with characteristics dating as far back as the Jomon period. The Museum's collection also includes melons from the Nara and Heian periods. For the current exhibit, the Museum has cultivated these strains and will display these "living records" in order to promote new understanding of Japanese life and culture in a historical perspective.

Dates: Tuesday, July 23 through Sunday, September 29, 2002
Venue: The Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, The National Museum of Japanese History
Admission: Included in general admission fee
Hours: Regular admission hours, 9:30 - 16:30 (visitors admitted into Garden no later than 16:00)
ひょうたん その1(千成びょうたん) ひょうたん その2

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