The teponaztli was another musical instruments used by ancient Mexicans besides the vertical drum or tlalpanhuehuetl, of the rattles, flutes, whistles and scrapers. Technically it is a xylophone of double tab in hard wood hollow cylinder which was carved with some H shapes at the top to tabs of different length and thickness to have different tonalities. It was played with wooden hammers or deer horns with an end covered in rubber, or hitting the surface with the hands. This beautiful teponaztli was masterfully carved by the Tlaxcaltecas, with whom the Mexicas celebrated the famous “flower wars” in order to have victims to sacrifice in honor of the Sun. It represents the complete figure of a warrior who crawls on the ground, twisting the body, as he would do it in war. It was carved with very elaborated elements such as a frontal band with the warrior’s feather and a short feathered cape tied to the front; the loincloth or máxtlatl twists in at the black to form a rope wearing sandals and in the body there are elements like a swordfish or the head of an axe; under the chin, the warrior holds in his hand a Calla lily.Arqlga. Bertina Olmedo Vera


  • Title: Teponaztli
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: 1250/1500
  • Physical Location: México
  • Physical Dimensions: w152 x h161 x d609 cm (complete)
  • Period: Posclásico Tardío (1250-1521 d.C.)
  • Edo. de Tlaxcala: Mexica
  • Type: Musical Instrument
  • Rights: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia., INAH. Proyecto de Digitalización de las Colecciones Arqueológicas del Museo Nacional de Antropología. CONACULTA-CANON-MNA.
  • External Link: http://www.mna.inah.gob.mx
  • Medium: Madera

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