Oklahoma's number one blog for natural and cultural history.


Inside the Treasure Box: Week Six

We’re over halfway through with our eleven-week blogging journey! Crazy, right? Don’t be sad, friends. There’s still five weeks left! To celebrate, we left you a little ITTB challenge on our Facebook page. We know you’ve been on the edge of your seat since then, justdying to see what collection we’re diving into today. Never fear! Relief is on the way. As promised in our last post, we’re diving into Mexico’s rich history with a little help from our ethnology department.


According to Dr. Marc Levine, curator of archaeology, Mixtec-speaking people of southern Mexico used ritual objects, such as the one above, to burn incense during the 13th through 16th centuries. Grasping the long handle in one hand, a priest would sprinkle aromatic resin over hot coals placed in the circular cup. The pungent smoke would awaken the senses and carry this offering to the gods and ancestors above.


The polychrome painted decoration identify this object as an example of the Mixteca-Puebla style, known from the modern Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca. In Mexico today, these incense burners are called sahumadore, and people continue to use them on ritual occasions such Dia de los Muertos, a traditional, Mexican holiday meaning “Day of the Dead.” To catch a glimpse of this unique holiday, check out the video below by the Travel Channel:

Pretty neat, huh? If culture and travel isn’t really your thing, then be sure to check out last week’s post from our invertebrates department! Like always, you’re going to want to stay tuned for next week’s post. It’s creepy, it’s slimy, and it’s just in time for Halloween. Make sure you don’t miss a thing by following our blog and liking us on Facebook for weekly ITTB teasers!