Thursday, May 16, 2013

Skull Whistles

Howard Kistler of Tabula Retina Studio is "a glass and clay crafter who has recently started making ceramic whistles. The skull whistles have been warmly received, and are a lot of fun to make. Here is a photo of the latest batch, a trio affectionately named Manet, Meau, and Jacques (The Ded Boys).

These skull whistles remind me of the death whistles I read about recently. They were used by various Central America tribes, but the reason for them has been lost. Perhaps they were for some type of death ritual, or possibly buried with bodies in case the people were not truly dead. In Victorian times, many bodies were buried with a bell's string tied to them, or a horn added to the coffin, because they were incapable of determining the difference between dead and comatose. The buried people, if they were actually alive, could ring the bell or blow into the horn to alert the graveyard keeper that they needed to dig up the person. Which ever way these type of instruments are used, the melody is sure to be eerie.

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