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Whistle with an old man emerging from a flower


Not on view

In Maya thought, the bones of the dead are comparable to plant seeds that carry progeny and fertilize the earth. The old man here is an ancestor, growing like flowers in the afterlife. These objects functioned as whistles: blowing into the stem would create sounds that animated the rituals in which they were used.

Silbato con anciano emergiendo de una flor
Siglo VII al IX
Cerámica, pigmento

Para los mayas, los huesos de los difuntos eran comparables a las semillas de las plantas, capaces de reproducirse y fertilizar la tierra. Este anciano representa un ancestro, que crecen como flores en el más allá. Estas piezas funcionaban como silbatos; al soplar el tallo se producían sonidos que animaban los rituales en los que se utilizaban.

Whistle with an old man emerging from a flower, Ceramic, pigment, Maya

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© Dumbarton Oaks, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, D.C.