Flower World - Mundo Florido, vol. 2

Music Archaeology of the Americas - Arqueomusicología de las Américas

Unveiling the Secrets of Ancient Nasca Whistles

Anna Gruszczyńska-Ziółkowska

Like the majority of Nasca musical instruments the whistles I analyze in this article are made of clay. They were found as part of offerings at the ceremonial center of Cahuachi (Peru) and at the nearby site of Usaka. Of special interest is the precise and laborious way they were manufactured, as well as the pattern which, in general terms, seems to underlie the construction of all of these whistles. However, one also observes some differences in their construction, which affect the sounds they produce. I raise the question if these differences, which seem to have been carefully planned by the manufacturers, could reflect some wider ideas and tendencies with regard to the concept of their sound and/or function. The dating of these whistles – relative and terminus post quem– suggests that these changes could have taken place approximately during the 2nd and 3rd century AD, when Cahuachi reached its peak.

Igual que la mayoría de los instrumentos nasca también los silbatos analizados en el presente artículo son de cerámica. Provienen de las ofrendas encontradas en el centro ceremonial Cahuachi (Perú) y en Usaka, un sitio cercano. Llaman la atención su elaboración precisa y minuciosa y un patrón de construcción que, en términos generales, parece repetirse. Sin embargo, se notan también algunas variantes constructivas que repercutan en el aspecto sonoro de dichos objetos. Planteo la pregunta si estas diferencias que parecen haber sido planeadas por parte de los constructores de los instrumentos, podrían reflejar unas ídeas y tendencias más amplias acerca del concepto de su sonido y/o su función. El fechamiento de los silbatos – relativo y terminus post quem– sugiere que estos cambios podrían haber tenido lugar durante los siglos II y III d.C. aproximadamente, período que coincidiría con el apogeo de Cahuachi.

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