Jaguar effigy whistle

Sicán (Lambayeque)
Late Intermediate Period (Late Sicán style)
A.D. 1100–1370

Object Place: Perú, Lambayeque area, North Coast


15.1 x 9.2 x 20 cm (5 15/16 x 3 5/8 x 7 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: orange, black, and cream slip paint

Not On View





Single-spouted, strap-handled, mold-made vessel in the form of a seated and tethered jaguar. A tiny hole at the back of its head at the juncture of the strap handle produces a shrill whistling sound when air is blown into the tapered spout. The spout and handle are decorated with thin stripes of orange slip paint, and traces of black curvilinear designs also embellish the spout. Concentric black circles on the feline’s body replicate the spots of a jaguar. Traces of black paint also are found on the feline’s ears and snout. The black may be post-fire paint, which is characteristic of Sicán (Lambayeque) ceramics.


According to a note in the file: "said to be from Rhodes"; to MFA, May 1906, anonymous gift.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift