Terracotta Peruvian Ocarina (Whistle)
The word Terracotta ("baked earth") is most commonly used to describe a type of sculpture, unglazed ceramic art, or decorative architecture, made from a coarse, porous clay, which is noted for its versatility, cheapness and durability. Later, the word was further generalized to anything that is sort of that color.
Terracotta is a type of clay. It means "baked earth" in Italian. At first it referred to a low fire red groggy clay and the porous reddish products made from it in Italy. It was just a local Italian common clay. Then it was generalized to any low fire reddish clay and things made from it anywhere in the world in any period. Terracotta pots, plates, water pipes, flowerpots architectural elements, tiles and sculpture are reddish (or buff, yellowish and other colors from the iron when not glazed), porous and fired between 1200-1800 F (600-1000 C).
Terracotta pottery sculpture is used for a wide range of functions and meaning. Serving pots, bell chimes, statues, whistles, etc. One remarkably interesting and functional piece is the ocarina. Ocarinas are everywhere in Peru. Even high up in the Andes, whistling through the cold winds of the Altiplano, tourists are lured by the sound of Ocarinas. Modern Peruvian Ocarinas are cheap and cheerful, prettily painted but poor in sound quality and musical potential, a far cry from their ancient predecessors. In modern times the titular Ocarina of Time (and the wooden Fairy Ocarina) feature prominently in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, an adventure game released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. The game was credited with increasing sales of ocarinas.
EXPERTS are teasing thousand-year-old secrets from the clay whistles, ocarinas and flutes of the ancient Americas, discovering that these old musical instruments are surprisingly advanced in their construction and tonal qualities.
Once dismissed as toys, these objects are now seen as ancient American wind instruments that were vital to the life of the Inca and Maya peoples, including the ruling elite.