Whistling Jar


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 681

Although numerous pottery instruments survive from pre-conquest South and Central America, little is known of how they were used before Spanish invaders ravaged the native cultures. Whistles, trumpets, and rattles in animal or human form probably had ceremonial functions or served as playthings. The whistling jar is a one- or two-chambered vessel in which a whistle, often concealed in a bird’s head, is sounded by blowing into the spout or by pouring liquid from one chamber to the other to create a birdlike twittering sound.

Whistling Jar, Pottery, Peruvian

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