Communing with nature, the ancestors and the neighbors: ancient ceramic musical instruments from coastal Oaxaca, Mexico
Abbreviated Journal Title
Oaxaca; Mesoamerica; Formative period; music; aerophones; sensorial; anthropology; CLASSIC MAYA MUSIC; ARCHAEOLOGY; SOUNDSCAPES; PERFORMANCE; TUTUTEPEC; GUATEMALA; AGUATECA; SOUND; WIND; Archaeology
The Mesoamerican Formative period (1600 BCE-CE 250) saw the establishment of sedentism, dietary transformations and the development of ceramic technologies for subsistence, artistic representation and the region's earliest preserved musical instruments. These instruments include aerophones such as whistles, ocarinas and flutes. In this paper, we describe sixty-three ceramic aerophones from mostly Formative period contexts in coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. We situate our analysis in the broader contexts of research on music and iconography in Mesoamerican archaeology, as well as of the anthropology of sensory perception. Through a consideration of archaeological context, artifact form and technical properties, we conclude that music was used in a wide range of social settings and carried multivalent meanings in ancient coastal Oaxaca. Specifically, we argue that instruments acted in both public and private settings, and that the anthropomorphic and zoomorphic imagery they bear indicates complex social practices such as communication with revered ancestors.
"Communing with nature, the ancestors and the neighbors: ancient ceramic musical instruments from coastal Oaxaca, Mexico" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5435.