Angel playing a vihuela. Acolman, Mexico, c.1560

(1560ca) - Monastery of San Agustín, Acolman de Nezahualcóyotl, México (State), Mexico.
instrument: vihuela de mano | century: 16cent/2/mid | catalogue nº: 16-238

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Creator anon

Medium Artwork: Sculpture


City Acolman | Region Mexico | Old kingdom America

Body Waisted Strings 6 strings Neck Medium Pegbox Angled flat
Bridge Fixed Frets No Back Flat Pegs Rear
Technique Plucked fingers thumb out

Angel playing a vihuela, stone sculpture, ca 1560. Facade of the chapel, of the former monastery of San Agustín, Acolman de Nezahualcóyotl, Estado de México, Mexico. The monastery, now a national monument, was built between 1539 and 1580. The vihuela is located on the façade of the chapel, above the door to the right. It is characteristic of several Augustinian churches in Mexico. See: (accessed 24/06/2014) and (accessed 24/06/2014). Good photographs are available at: (accessed 24/06/2014)

Finely sculpted depiction of a vihuela with incurved sides, deep ribs, and a flat back. From the soundhole, the interior appears to be hollow, perhaps indicating the vihuela to be made of wood, at least partially. The bridge and six strings are shown with great precision as are the tuning pegs in the angled pegbox. The angel is playing with a thumb out technique and the positions of both hands are quite realistic.