Could this be an ancient whistle of some sort?

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by AnMarie, Mar 9, 2023.

  1. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    Hi, me again.

    I absolutely love this little chap! However, I'm stumped; not only on its origin, but whether it's a whistle of some sort.. (given the holes).

    Hopefully, you sages can enlighten me.

    Many thanks in advance.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2023
    LauraGarnet02 likes this.
  2. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Where was it found (back history) and does it have a series of letter/numbers inked anywhere on it ?
  3. Jeff Drum

    Jeff Drum Well-Known Member

    Looks like Central or South American reproduction to me. Likely bought on a trip to Mexico. Period precolumbian whistles are MUCH more finely decorated in my experience and don’t look like this. Handling would make it certain.
  4. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    Hi, I haven't a clue where it was originally found. Unfortunately, I can't see any letters or numbers.
  5. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    Hi, thanks for your reply.
    I'm surprised because I thought the little chap was quite old.
    I wouldn't expect clay whistles to be so highly ornate.
    I've just had a quick Google and found this.... which seems more in line with the one I've shown.

    Attached Files:

  6. Jeff Drum

    Jeff Drum Well-Known Member

    Why did you think it was quite old? Compare the quality of workmanship. A lot of people who are new to antiques think crudeness is a sign of age - but the opposite is true. Other signs are more subtle and require more research, like design to indicate which culture, color and type of clay, hardness of baking. I don’t see any of that in this example consistent with authentic examples. A lot of whistles have been made as tourist trinkets for decades, easy to pack in luggage.
  7. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    I merely added the other example, because you stated that precolumbian whistles were MUCH more finely decorated. However, as you can see, that isn't always the case. This particular whistle is authentic, and housed in a museum.
    Any Jewelry likes this.
  8. Jeff Drum

    Jeff Drum Well-Known Member

    Precolumbian art encompasses thousands of years of art made over whole continents, it’s hard to make statements that cover all of the hundreds of cultures over all those years. But as I said, start by comparing the quality of workmanship. Finely decorated doesn’t mean lots of doodads.
    wlwhittier likes this.
  9. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Is there a hole in his "tail"?
  10. Taupou

    Taupou Well-Known Member

    Technically, it's an ocarina. Whistles only have one note. The holes on the sides of the head (assuming there is another on the other side, not shown) are covered to produce more than one note. And yes, there should be the hole at the end of the "tail" (also not shown) to blow in.

    Pottery whistles are one of the things I collect, and I have several from Central and South America. Replicas are still being produced.

    And I've seen more than a few where the potter forgot to add the hole where you blow, making it not a whistle, or an ocarina! If it doesn't make a sound when you blow it, it's not either one. You do have to blow in the right hole, however. If it whistles, it's a whistle. And probably a replica.
  11. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    I agree that I'm drawn to certain older looking artifacts, and that's why I love this site. Everyone seems so much more knowledgeable, and more importantly open with their views. I respectfully thank you for your input.
    komokwa likes this.
  12. AnMarie

    AnMarie Active Member

    Thank you so much for your response, I can't see a hole at its tail. Therefore, quite possibly a replica
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