Drum with Owl Face by Unknown Artist

Carved from a hard and heavy wood, this horizontal drum - called 'tepozantli' in the Aztec language - was designed to be placed on a stand and beaten with a pair of sticks padded with raw rubber.

Details

Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
16.5 x 50 cm
Acquired in:
1949
Vendor:
Mrs W O Oldman

It is typical of a kind of drum used throughout Mexico and Central America in dances and religious festivals from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. It bears the head of a horned owl, whose feathers fan out to decorate the entire surface. Because of its nocturnal habits, the owl was known in Mexican mythology as a messenger of the underworld. This object was part of a large and varied collection of 30 works of ethnographic art, formed by W. O. Oldman, which the Art Fund presented to the nation on account of its 'exceptional merit'.

Provenance

Mr W O Oldman.

Venue details

British Museum Great Russell Street, LONDON London WC1B 3DG 020 7323 8299 www.britishmuseum.org

Entry details

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