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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Miscellaneous : Avian Ocarina
Avian Ocarina - PF.3008
Origin: Costa Rica (Nicoya)
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This charming clay sculpture of a bird is the Ocarina, a musical instrument of the new world. Ocarinas come in a variety of sizes, producing tones ranging from that of a tenor recorder to that of a shrill whistle. The mouthpiece and the resonance chamber are modified to produce different tones. This beautifully burnished Ocarina's bird shape body is used as the resonance chamber. The resonance chamber and various openings in the instrument are sculpted in nearly perfect circular forms, indicating the artist's attention to precision. Decorated in the zoned bichrome-period style, the beautiful and delicate surf ace shows enhancement with fine incision lines. Used in sacred rituals, such Ocarina had an important function in Ancient Costa Rica. Ocarinas were played in rituals to honor the high politicians, chieftains, and shamans. Furthermore, it was a great honor for a musician to be chosen to play an Ocarina in these rituals. The music of this charming Ocarina surely has captivated the participating souls of the rituals, and the instrument still possesses the power to enchant the ears of people today. We can imagine the musical delight this delicate bird created in ancient, sacred rituals, and the magical soul of the musician who created the enchanting sound. - (PF.3008)


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