Much of the bark has been left on this unsplit California Peppertree (Schinus molle) branch flute, sanded down at the tone holes to expose the finely finished wood grain. Measuring 19 3/4" in length, with 4 tuning holes, it is sweetly, clearly and accurately tuned to a high c minor pentatonic scale, modes 1 & 4, playing 3 upper octave tones as well as the Gypsy scale. All knot holes or small surface checks have been inlaid with crushed malachite. Elk lacing, with malachite and amber beads, holds the bird to the nest, the bird fitted with a redwood shoe to aid against wetout.
Interesting shamanic use of Peppertree: Brought to Mexico by the Spaniards from South America hundreds of years ago,
Peppertree now grows abundantly in the wild there, where it is known by the name of "pirul", also naturalizing throughout much of the American Southwest. It has become an important part of Mexican traditional medicine, as its branches are used to "sweep" a person's body and thus "cast away all bad luck" and the "evil eye". This ceremony, called "una barrida con pirul" is common practice in many rural communities in Mexico today.
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