Measuring 20 3/8" in length, with four tuning holes, this six holed Peppertree (Shinus molle) branch flute is sweetly and accurately tuned to an A minor pentatonic scale, playing 3 upper octave notes and a controllable warble on the fundamental. Much of the wonderfully textured bark has been left on and well sealed, contrasting nicely with the exposed and finely finished wood grain. All knot holes have been inlaid with crushed turquoise. Elk lacing with turquoise and horn bone beads holds the bird to the nest, the bird fitted with a redwood shoe to aid against wetout. The branch for this flute was gathered from a tree that grows where the flute was made, at the Nottingham Center for the Arts.
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 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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