69 Water jug

Water jug

This South American water jar, probably Chimu-Peruvian, is from the Incan period ca. 1400-1500. It has a special secret: this dual-chambered “huaco” could sing! An internal whistle is located inside the monkey figure atop the left side of the vessel. When water was transferred between the two chambers via the base, the air pressure created would make the monkey whistle! Huacos were decorated with a variety of animal and bird effigies. Today’s scientists believe the sounds created were used in shamanic rituals as a means of summoning healing spirits. It is made of earthenware clay, blackened by smoldering fires during the firing process, then buffed to a high sheen.

Location: W1, Indigenous Cultures Gallery

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