Flower World - Mundo Florido, vol. 2

Music Archaeology of the Americas - Arqueomusicología de las Américas

The Death of the mojas: Human Sacrifices, Song and Ritual in the Nuevo Reino de Granada (Central Colombia), 1563

Egberto Bermúdez

This article proposes an interpretation of a Muisca ritual event performed at Ubaque (southeast of Bogotá) in late December 1563. Analysis of its sonic elements – particularly songs – relate these to the sacrifice of mojas, priestly trained adolescents and song specialists bartered at high prices from the eastern Llanos, a region of high mythical and ritual importance for the Muisca. From a cross cultural perspective – hinted at but only partially developed in academic discourse – these ritual and sonic elements allow us to consider the worlds of the Muisca and the MacroChibchan linguistic stock groups as an important crossroads for the cultural interaction of Mesoamerica and the Andean worlds.

Este artículo plantea una interpretación del ritual celebrado por los muisca en Ubaque (al sudeste de Bogotá) a finales de diciembre de 1563 a partir del análisis de sus elementos sonoros – en especial de sus cantos – y lo relaciona con el sacrificio de los mojas. Estos eran adolescentes con entrenamiento ritual y especialistas en el canto quienes eran intercambiados a muy altos precios desde los Llanos orientales, una región de alto significado mítico y ritual para los muisca. Desde una perspectiva transcultural, planteada pero profundizada sólo en forma parcial por algunos investigadores, estos elementos sonoros y rituales permiten considerar al mundo de los muisca (y de los grupos del tronco lingüístico macro-chibcha) como una importante encrucijada cultural entre Mesoamérica y el mundo andino.

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