Peruvian, Mochica culture (ca, 400--900 AD)
Marine shell trumpets have been in use as signal instruments since Neolithic times. Although the shells of various marine animals have been used for this purpose, the conch seems to have been by far the most popular. The conch trumpet was widely used in the cultures of pre-Columbian Central and South America. These instruments might be made from either an actual shell, into which a mouthpiece was drilled either at the end or on the side, or from ceramic worked to resemble a conch shell, as in the present example.
Made painted terra cotta covered with red slip. Cup shaped mouthpiece at rounded end. Overall length 25.0 cm.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Laurence C. Witten, II
Accession No. 3750.1970