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4-hole ceramic flute

4-hole ceramic Aztec (Mexica) flute

Mexica ceramic flute with four finger-holes, 13.2 cms long, c. 1486-1520, Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City.

The front [of this flute] is adorned with an anthropomorphic head wearing a feather headdress, which could be the stylized depiction of a god. It was discovered in offering 89 of the Templo Mayor, which is associated with Stage VI of its construction (about 1486). This offering was found completely submerged below the water table, which made excavation work difficult. The Mexica also buried another eleven pottery flutes here, along with numerous depictions of ‘teponaztli’ (horizontal drums) and ‘chicahuaztli’ (rattle-sticks) made from volcanic rock, all of which clearly indicate the musical theme of this group of objects.

From ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 110.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

See two small Aztec flutes

Go to our Aztec Music section