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Bird-Shaped Whistle

Arts of the Americas

Birds are among the most often portrayed animals in the pre-Columbian art of Central America. Their song and ability to fly were greatly admired traits, and whistles like the charming examples seen here would have reproduced a bird’s melodic call almost perfectly. The polychrome whistle on the right has a painted lattice design, and the one on the left is adorned with incised lines, triangles, and circles filled with white pigment. Both types of decoration suggest bird feathers.

Los pájaros están entre los animales más representados en el arte precolombino de América Central. Sus canciones y habilidad para volar eran cualidades enormemente admiradas, y silbatos como los encantadores ejemplos que se aprecian aquí pueden haber reproducido el sonido melodioso de los pájaros casi a la perfección. El silbato policromo a la derecha tiene un diseño de encaje pintado, y el de la izquierda está adornado con líneas incisas, triángulos, y círculos rellenos con pigmento blanco. Ambos tipos de decoración sugieren plumas de pájaros.

MEDIUM Ceramic, pigments
DATES 1000–1500
DIMENSIONS 3 3/8 x 2 3/4 in. (8.5 x 7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Alfred W. Jenkins Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Bird-Shaped Whistle, 1000–1500. Ceramic, pigments, 3 3/8 x 2 3/4 in. (8.5 x 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 34.2059. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.34.2059.jpg)
IMAGE overall, CUR.34.2059.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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 <em>Bird-Shaped Whistle</em>, 1000–1500. Ceramic, pigments, 3 3/8 x 2 3/4 in. (8.5 x 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 34.2059. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.34.2059.jpg)