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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Colombia : Tairona Terracotta Whistle
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Tairona Terracotta Whistle - PF.4272
Origin: Colombia
Circa: 1000 AD to 1500 AD
Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) high x 4.375" (11.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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This spectacular terracotta whistle belongs to the Tairona culture of Northern Colombia. Whistles and ocarinas are the musical instruments of the New World often found in high-status tombs. Made in a variety of forms and motifs, this particular whistle depicts a man in native costume in a frontal position with two zoomorphic creatures at either side. Most probably depicting an elegant individual from the upper class of society, the multiple holes of such a wind instrument were used to vary pitch and tone. The blowhole is found on the top of the man’s elaborate headdress.

Whistles were used in important ritual ceremonies and would have often been part of the elaborate display that involved many musicians playing drums, wooden trumpets, rattles, and whistles. This work is an aesthetic statement of a now extinct Columbian culture that so greatly valued the beauty found in music and refined artistry. - (PF.4272)


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