The Chios Mastic Museum part of the Cultural Foundation of the Piraeus’ Bank museums network, is located in the Mastichochoria (literally: mastic villages), a group of medieval villages in Southern Chios, the only site in the Mediterranean where the mastic tree, or Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia, is cultivated; called by its generic name of skínos in Greek, this is an endemic variety of pistacia plant from which mastíha (gum mastic) is produced.
The Chios Mastic Museum aims to showcase the production history of the mastic tree’s cultivation and the processing of its resin, which it integrates into the cultural landscape of Chios. Through the prism of UNESCO’s inclusion of traditional mastic cultivation on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014, emphasis is given to the diachronicity and sustainability of this product of Chios.
What is on display:
The permanent exhibition centres on Chios mastíha as a unique natural product. The introductory module provides information on the mastic tree and mastíha, its resin, which in 2015 was recognised as a natural medicine. The first module presents the traditional know-how of mastic cultivation. The second module focuses on how managing the cultivation and its produce shaped the agricultural landscape and the settlements of southern Chios and the Mastichochoria historically. The third module is dedicated to mastíha resin’s cooperative exploitation and processing in modern times, which marks an important chapter in the productive history of Chios. Particular mention is made to the uses underpinning why mastíha has a worldwide presence today. The museum experience is completed in the outdoor exhibition, where the public comes into contact with the plant itself and the natural habitat it prospers in.