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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Whistle worn as amulet

Whistle worn as amulet

Whistling in code

This whistle's ample shape delivered sounds that encoded messages. Certain sounds were considered to be the voices of ancestors interjecting their thoughts. With the jutting chin and crown of a man of royal stature, the instrument was likely to emit a male tonality. The horizontal tube across the bottom would allow the whistle to be suspended from a cord and worn around the neck-as this one was-by a royal Chokwe person from Angola.

Wood with pigment
3 7/8 x 1 9/16 x 1 9/16 in. (9.9 x 4 x 3.9 cm)
Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Untold Story, November 14, 2003 - November 14, 2004

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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