Bird and Armadillo Ocarinas Pre-Columbian Style Zoomorphic Flutes

Artist Unknown
Item number: 5231

These ocarinas are made in the style of pre-Columbian ones from Mesoamerica. Probably made in Mexico, they are formed in the shapes of a standing bird and an armadillo. They're made of an almost colorless clay that was given a coat of speckled terracotta glaze that mimics ancient ones. We've seen these marked "Antique Pre-Columbian" and offered for hundreds of dollars each, when in reality, they are tourist wares.

The clay color gives them away-- if they were made of red clay, then logically they should be the same on the interior as well as the exterior. Looking into the holes on the ocarinas in our photos, you can easily see where the glaze stops and the whitish clay is revealed. Speaking of holes, these are 4-hole ocarinas, with each hole perfectly drilled round--another mark of more modern manufacture.

The bird measures 5 1/2 inches in height on his three legs, 4 inches from beak to tail and weighs 7 1/2 ounces. It's unadorned except for its two carved eyes and a carved line for its mouth. The armadillo, which has been given four bumps along his back, each with a small hole, has etched cross-hatching representing its armored plates. It has carved eyes, two holes for nostrils and a carved mouth that seems to be smiling. Standing on its four legs, it measures 3 inches tall to the top of the tallest bump, 6 inches long and 3 1/2 inches across the belly. It weighs 9 ounces and, like the bird, is in excellent condition, with no damage at all. The lack of any wear is yet another indication of their lack of great age: items over 500 years old should certainly look their age by now.

All of this being said, these ocarinas display handsomely, either separately or together. While not ancient, they are highly decorative and collectible.

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PYH 5231