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.

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'.


Mr W O Oldman.

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