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Incised Strombus-Shell Trumpet

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
To judge from representations on carved stone slabs at Chavín de Huántar showing trumpet playing at public rituals, this shell trumpet was probably made for ceremonial use. The incised designs depict a person of high rank, indicated by his facial tattoos and ankle ornaments, playing a shell trumpet. The figure is surrounded by snakes, including one that emanates from the instrument. The twisting and intertwined snakes may indicate the power of the trumpet to communicate with supernatural beings.

A juzgar por representaciones en bloques de piedra en Chavín de Huántar que muestran trompetas siendo tocadas en rituales públicos, esta trompeta de caracola fue probablemente hecha para uso ceremonial. Los diseños incisos muestran a una persona de alto rango, indicado por sus tatuajes faciales y ornamentos en los tobillos, tocando una trompeta de caracola. La figura está rodeada por serpientes, incluyendo una que emana del instrumento. Las serpientes enroscándose y retorciéndose pueden representar el poder de la trompeta para comunicarse con seres sobrenaturales.

MEDIUM Strombus shell
DATES 400-200 B.C.E.
PERIOD Formative Period
DIMENSIONS 11 1/4 x 7 1/8 x 11 1/4 in. (28.6 x 18.1 x 28.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE Anonymous Loan
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CAPTION Chavin. Incised Strombus-Shell Trumpet, 400-200 B.C.E. Strombus shell, 11 1/4 x 7 1/8 x 11 1/4 in. (28.6 x 18.1 x 28.6 cm). Anonymous Loan, L52.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, L52.1_transp5626.jpg)
IMAGE overall, L52.1_transp5626.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Strombus-shell trumpet with an elaborate, incised design of a human figure blowing on a conch shell with a cascade of serpents emanating from it, possibly alluding to the sacred nature of the sounds produced. The ancient Chavin people probably used shell trumpets during rituals because such activities are depicted on architectural friezes and monumental sculpture. Drill holes suggest that the piece could have been suspended on a cord, perhaps from the neck of a priest. Condition: excellent.
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