Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Tairona culture, ca. 800 to 1200 CE. A fine hand-carved steatite whistle in the form of a stylized bat with two pairs of perforations through its tail allowing it to be worn upside-down as a pendant. The figure has slender legs oriented between incised tail grooves, a rounded chest, and a pair of broad wings, each embellished with a curving groove with zigzagging peripheries. The animal boasts an incised collar around its thick neck, with almond-shaped eyes, an upturned nose, perky ears, and a fanged mouth defining its zoomorphic countenance. A circular hole in the back creates a high-pitched sound when blown into laterally, similar to that of a flute. With its pistachio-green color and fine detailing, this is a wonderful example from ancient Colombia! Size: 1.8" W x 2.125" H (4.6 cm x 5.4 cm).
Provenance: private Los Angeles County, California, USA collection
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Repair to one wing with small nicks and adhesive residue along break line. Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, minor chips to wings, tail, head, and tone hole, with fading to stone coloration and some finer carved details. Light earthen and mineral deposits throughout. Whistle produces nice sound when used.