- Museum number
Pottery 'ocarina' or whistle in the shape of a parrot with four grooves. It was possibly painted: there are traces of a blue pigment on the upper part of the body and of red pigment on the lower one.
- Production date
- 1300-1521 (circa)
Height: 8.80 centimetres
Width: 10.80 centimetres
Depth: 14.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Traces of so-called Maya Blue: a nanostructured material produced by heating palygorskite (a naturally occurring fibrous phyllosilicate mineral (Mg,Al)4Si8(O,OH,H2O)24•nH2O with a needle-like structure together with a pre-Columbian species of indigo (either I.suffructicosa or I.guatalamensis, ch’oh in Yucatec Mayan). The archaeological fascination with the pigment owes in part to its chromatic properties, which deteriorate little over time and are resistant to diluted mineral acids, alkalis, solvents, oxidants, reducing agents, moderate heat and biocorrosion.
Studied by Jorge Martínez Valderrama during his research fellowship at the Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research (2021). Martínez Valderrama created an electro-acoustic soundscape: Saa Ñu’ú (Birds Clay) based on these pre-Columbian zoomorphic ceramic instruments, recently made reproductions, and Mixtec pictorial manuscripts.
Zoomorphic ceramic instruments appear in pre-Columbian and colonial era pictorial manuscripts and continue to be made throughout contemporary Mexico.
Saa Ñu’ú (Birds Clay) was exhibited at the UK Mexican Arts Society, London (Sep-Oct 2021).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2002, London, Royal Academy, Aztecs
2003, Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Aztecs
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number