This ceramic plate from Talavera made toward the end of the 17th century has been exquisitely decorated and polychromed. It displays a country dance scene on its inner surface. Two mixed couples with a courtly air hold hands as they dance to the sound of the bagpipes. The scene is of a markedly popular nature, consistent with the instrument being played. In this case the instrument is a boot or bellowed bagpipes, which is being blown into by a peculiar nude male figure, undoubtedly reminiscent of a mythological character. One can clearly make out the different parts of the instrument: the hide bag, possibly covered with a cloth lining, a characteristic feature of this wind instrument; the chanter or tube where the holes are placed; the blowpipe, a small tube through which air flows into the bag; the drone, a long conical tube which serves as a resonator; and the three tassels that adorn it.
There are many types of bagpipes depending on the region and historical period. They were the ideal wind instruments for accompanying outdoor dances for three reasons: their loud and piercing pitch; the fact that they generated sound continuously, without stopping, thanks to the bellow or the bag; and finally, because they were capable of executing a melody while simultaneously playing a continuous bass note or bourdon, as a sort of primitive polyphony. Ever since the medieval cornamuse, the bagpipes have continued to evolve to this day.