Traditional Cups and Bowls



Traditional Cups and Bowls


Drinking cups
Emigration and immigration
Pottery, Puerto Rican
Taino pottery


The items seen here are traditional eating and drinking utensils first used by the Tainos people indigenous to Puerto Rico. Brought in by Gladys Moreno Fuentes, an employee of Central Connecticut State University, the set includes two bowls or plates made from the dritas fruit from the Higuera tree native to parts of Central America and Puerto Rico and two cups made of clay with adornments including “Puerto Rico” carved into the side of both. One cup has the symbol of the sun from Tainos culture while the other has maracas carved into it. Brought back to her from Puerto Rico by friends in the past two years, Mrs. Fuentes said she remembers her grandmother using the same style of dishware when she was younger.

The ditas fruit had many uses in Tainos and later Puerto Rican culture. The fruit would be dried and used for a variety of specific dishes based on their size and shape so it would sit well in the container. The fruit would also be used in producing maracas, musical instruments used by the indigenous people. The cups show their relation with the carving of maracas on their side. Mrs. Fuentes recalls watching her grandmother drink coffee out of cups just like the ones she brought in. Now, these kinds of wears can only be found crafted by artisans, like the ones she brought in, or she thinks they can still be found in the homes of poorer citizens.

Puerto Rican immigrants brought many items from their homeland to remind them of where they came from, just like many other migrant groups. While primarily decorative pieces now, one can imagine sipping from these clay cups with “Puerto Rico” carved into the side and being reminded of the island. With constant pressure to assimilate to American culture, many Puerto Ricans maintain their cultural heritage by holding onto pieces such as these as a reminder of where they came from.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context: 

Duany, Jorge. “Nation on the Move: The Construction of Cultural Identities in Puerto Rico and    the Diaspora.” American Ethnologist 27, no. 1 (2000): 5-30. 

Guerra, Lillian. Popular Expression and National Identity in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for Self, Community, and Nation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998. 

Opie, Frederick Douglass. “Eating, Dancing, and Courting in New York Black and Latino Relations, 1930 – 1970.” Journal of Social History. (2008) 42 (1): 79 – 109.

Rouse, Irving. The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. Yale University Press, 1992.

Entry Author: Stefon Danczuk


Unknown crafts-person


Personal Collection of Gladys Moreno-Fuentes


Gladys Moreno-Fuentes


Date Accessioned: April 29, 2018


Gladys Moreno-Fuentes


Copyright to this resource is held by Gladys Moreno-Fuentes and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.


History Harvest 2018 Interview #12; History Harvest 2017 Object #10


.JPG Image Files




Physical Object


History Harvest 2018 Object #19


New Britain, CT; Connecticut; Puerto Rico; 2018; 2010s; 21st century.


Unknown crafts-person, “Traditional Cups and Bowls,” Latino History Harvest, accessed May 28, 2024,

Output Formats