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History behind the piece

Archeology and ethno history show that the ancient inhabitants of Peru were very musical. In fact, our ancestors made a large number of ceremonial instruments, among which those dedicated to music stand out, many of which perished throughout history. However, the enormous effort of scholars and museum entities that diligently carried out restoration and study work have made it possible for a large number of pieces to be fully known today - in aesthetics and operation - not only for the enjoyment sound of the listener, but for the greater understanding of the musical world that has been gestated for millennia in our territory.

This is the case of whistling bottles or also called whistle glasses, ceramic pieces used since pre-Hispanic times. Although the iconographic, historical and archaeological information that allows interpreting them is scarce, the studies around them suggest a funerary use in all the cultures in which they were present.

Due to the strong psychoacoustic experiences that these bottles can produce, they have been linked to the shamanic world, thus establishing a relationship between these ceramics, death and states of consciousness, which could explain, in part, their importance in many of the great Andean cultures. This scenario is not surprising, since all the known pieces have been part of funeral offerings, and it is precisely the lack of traces of use, which allows us to postulate its use as an exclusive object, perhaps made only for the funeral ritual, and not for household or recurring needs.

The piece shown here, made as a reproduction by the Cusco ceramist and musicologist José Vitancio Umeres as part of his study of pre-Columbian musical artifacts, belongs to the Chimu culture (1000 - 1470 A.C.), an Andean state that settled on the coasts of present-day Peru after the decline of the Wari empire. Its shapes, based on those of an eagle, were sculpted by hand and later burned in a closed oven, to then be exposed to a treatment with plumbing, which gives it this brilliant black color and, in turn, gives the piece of a singular beauty. Black pottery, also called bucchero nero because of its similarity to the Etruscan culture, constitutes the main characteristic of the Chimu style.

To make it sound, you must have proper tolling technique. Depending on this, the sound results can be very different. The only way to know the proper technique and, therefore, the sound that corresponds to the instrument in its cultural environment, is to recreate its use through experimentation.

Although there are several ways of making this type of instrument sound, it is the back and forth movement with water, the technique that makes the most of its musical possibilities. In this type of double-bodied bottle, whistle and container, they influence each other in the production of sound. This is how, when filling the bottle with water, the whistle (about 2 or 3 cm in diameter) housed inside one of the spheres, is put into operation when tilting the container, the liquid pushes the air contained in one of the reserves, which escapes through the air duct, blowing the whistle and thus producing the sound. It should be noted that since both bottles are separated, it is the elongation of the conduit that joins them that determines the duration of the sound, since it is subject to the duration of the air flow.

The sound dynamics depends, on the one hand, on the acoustics and hydraulics implicit in the container and, on the other, on the movement that is impressed on it. The amount of water and its path inside, make up sounds that vary from a weevil (glo, glo, glo) to a long and precise melodic drawing. It is difficult to refer to these sounds in the musical terms used in the West, because they refer to qualities such as "gurgles", "bubbles", "breaths" and a series of sound alterations. The result is a basic melody in the shape of an arc, which rises and then falls, and which is produced, basically, by variation of the fundamental tone.

Origin: Chimu Culture
Measurements: 19,8 cm lenght x 16,5 cm height x 9,3 cm width
Weight: 0,800 kg
SKU: 0234-18

$ 320.00