VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Flute putorino
Oz 325
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Flute made of wood with an elliptical cross-section, made of two halves mounted together. There is a carving at the lower closed end; at the upper open end is a human head with mother-of-pearl eyes and an extended tongue. The ends and the middle are wrapped around with a twisted cord. There is a large opening in the middle. The flute was played as a lengthwise flute, blowing into, or against the larger end opening. Variations in pitch could be produced by movement of the fingers over the sound-hole in the middle. The player could also sing or speak into the instrument. The playing of the flutes is also shown in representations of ancestors. The instrument represents a peculiar development among the instruments of Oceania. This type of flute is the one most commonly represented in the collections from Cook's voyages. Georg Forster described it as they found it among the Maori which they met in Queen Charlotte Sound in June 1773: "a third instrument, which our people called a flute, consisted of a hollow tube, which was widest in the middle, and in this area, as at both ends, there was an opening".

History of the Object
This object, among others, was collected during James Cook’s three voyages through the Pacific Ocean (1768-71, 1772-75, and 1776-79/80). The items presented in the Goettingen Collection are of fascinating preservation and – in consideration of their age – irreplaceable items of the past.

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Type
Musical instruments 
Materials
Wood 
Measurements
72,5 x 6,5 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
New Zealand 
Geography
New Zealand 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century 
Function
Music and signal 
Acquisition
Part of the Cook/Forster Collection 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Ethnographic Collection, Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany 
Museum
Ethnographic Collection of the University of Göttingen 
Credit line
 

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