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Tlapitzquiquiztli - Horned Flute of the ConchCombining large pinchpot pieces with pulled handles can take some time, particularly when there are ceramic gymnastics involved…and this piece definitely qualifies.  The basic components were scored, slipped, joined and then braced while resting on the banding wheel.  At leather hard stage, the fipple of the ocarina was added and scoring for the areas to be sculpted was roughed out.  At each step, the entire piece received a light misting and was allowed to rest, completely covered,  overnight.  There is still much to be done, but a peek into the process might help others understand how these things are built.

The intent of the construction is to represent a snail (or conch), complete with shell and proboscis.  References to animals and use of animal part (tortoise shell, conch, animal bone, etc.) were common among Mayan wind instruments, and although this particular instrument is the object of a fictional story, it will produce multiple sounds.

I do wonder if the workspace of Mayan musical instrument makers ever became as cluttered as the space where this piece is sitting.  I’ll have to ask E.B. if there isn’t some sort of ancient proverb that suggests that out of chaos comes creativity 🙂

EB Note Top“Only brief mentions in ancient text speak of a rare flute that mimics the conch and snail. This rare find could be but one survivor of the Cenote at Uxmalico. The glyph imprints have not been identified, but the instrument is definitely ceremonial. Once clear of silt and several hundred years of debris, I’ll not be surprised if this piece still plays. I have named the instrument, Tlapitzquiquiztli – Horned Flute of the Conch.”
EB Signature

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