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Bowl with barley bread
MFA# 13.4303


A cereal grain obtained from the barley plants, Hordeum vulgare (6-rowed) or Hordeum distichon (2-rowed). Barley was cultivated in Ethipia and southeast Asia since prehistoric times. From biblical times through the Middle Ages, barley was the primary grain for producing unleavened bread and porridge throughout Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, and some parts of Asia. The grains are also been used to make malt beer. The residual stems, or straw, were used in Europe and Asia to make straw hats. The straw has also used used as a packing material, particularly for shipping glass and as an animal feed.

Barley print by Hokusai
MFA# RES.53.260

Synonyms and Related Terms

barley straw; barley flour; barley bread; Hordeum vulgare (6-rowed); Hordeum distichon (2-rowed or common barley)

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Wikipedia: Barley; species list and description (accessed Jan. 11, 2009)
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 86
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998