Link to enlarge vase K7784 &#copy; Justin Kerr Charles Zidar

Family:  Moraceae
Genus:  Castilla
Species:  elastica
Authority:  Sesse
Common Name:  rubber tree
Maya Name:  Castilloa rubber, hule, kiikche, kikiche, kukche and yaxha
Depictions:  Ceramic vessel
Maya Plant Use:  Rubber Tree - Latex or laticifers, termed "rubber" by Sir Joseph Priestley in 1770 when he used it to rub errors from a piece of paper. Aztecs used Castilla elastica. Later Havea brasiliensis was used. In 1823, Charles Macintosh used rubber as a waterproof jacket. In 1839, Charles Goodyear developed vulcanization. Synthetic rubber is made by polymerizing either butadiene or styrene molecules obtained from alcohol, coal, or petroleum. Over two-thirds of rubber goes toward making tires. (Simpson and Ogorzaly 1995)
Ritual Significance:  Havea braziliensis? and Castilla elastica were prized by the ancient Maya for the liquid latex that was harvested to create the ceremonial ball for the ritual ballgame. A rubber ball can be seen on this polychrome ceramic.
Notes:  Cerv.?
Photos:  Click on an image below for high resolution comparison.

Previous Page |  Introductory Page

Return to top of page