General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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Teotihuacán shell trumpet

Shell trumpet (caracol) from Teotihuacan

Teotihuacán conch shell trumpet (Strombus) with year and number glyphs, 35.7 cms in length, National Anthropology Museum, Mexico City.

In all pre-Hispanic cultures shell was a valued and important material, used at least as far back as 1500 BCE to produce ‘sumptuary’ (luxury) goods, from pendants to trumpets. Evidence comes from artefacts found in burial offerings, from codex images, from mural paintings and from stone and ceramic figurines. The unworked shells were brought from both (Atlantic and Pacific) coasts, to be prepared and decorated in specialist workshops at Teotihuacán; so far only 5 shell trumpets have been discovered, and of these only two are stuccoed and painted, as in the case here.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Learn more about the conch trumpet among the Mexica