7. Conclusions

Based on the study of the original bottle and the two replicas, it is clear that the potter of the original vessel must have had knowledge, not only of ceramics as a technique, but an awareness of the mechanisms for the production of sounds. This knowledge and practice enabled the construction of these complex artefacts, and enabled sound to be derived from the hydraulic action, and fufil the need for the 'automation' of sound.

In addition, it is possible that this potter was an important person in the social hierarchy, because, as through these objects, it would be possible to maintain and transmit culture. The transmission of cultural knowledge through these bottles is evident in their design, decoration, size and shape, all which allow us to determine the possible cultural practices (rituals, funerary, festive, community participation etc.) used at that time. Through the traces left in the clay, the possible manufacturing techniques used can be determined such as construction by means of slab, string technique, slip technique etc; and in certain indigenous communities of the Republic of Ecuador these traditions are continued. By contributing to the technological development, it could be said that the Chorrera potters had established a space for the creative and research performance of acoustic ceramics, which led to the construction of these increasingly complex objects acquiring a symbolic meaning and even a ritual or funerary use.

Lasting approximately 1500 years (Crespo (1966), development was driven by the functional and aesthetic needs of the inhabitants of Chorrera to build these very representative artefacts. Our current research has sought to highlight the scientific contribution of this culture, showing the capacity to generate sound in an automated way. By simple swinging movements, the sound effects must have been an unprecedented 'magical' spectacle, in which the powers of the spirit of water and air are manifested, in dialogue with the spirits of fire and of the earth embodied in the bottle itself. As de Arce argues (2013, 74) the instrument lends its voice so that the water can sing, made to give expression to the natural song of water. This research has aimed to highlight the duality (so typical of the Andean worldview) of science and spirituality contained in this object.

The design of the acoustic structure of this bottle and the precise location of the cavities allow the production of several sounds that change from one to the other simultaneously according to the pressure of the air and the external expansion of the sound. This makes it an object of great technological advancement for the period in which it was produced, and could be considered a great contribution to contemporary acoustic development.

The mastery and knowledge embodied in this object is clear to hear. Applying formal variables to the sound mechanism results in modifications to the sound, and would be the same techniques that were mastered by the Chorrera people. The location of the resonator, the size of the air duct, the perforations of the external resonance chamber and the ways of handling the vessels are elements that allow sound variations that were positively mastered and applied to these objects.

We propose that the sound produced by the original bottle can be compared to the sound made by blue-footed boobies in the breeding season. This comparison would attest to what Crespo (1966) sees as the observation and analysis of nature as an important reference to be considered by the potters of Chorrera in the creation of this type of representation (although de Arce (2015) takes a different view and believes the sound is not necessarily related to the forms represented).

As for the replica bottles, the experiments carried out are very valuable because they show several features. First that the whistle with a plastic sphere with very thin walls only allows the emission of a single sound. Second, with a terracotta sphere with thicker walls (2mm thick), the pressure sound of increasing insufflation jumps to a lower frequency (regime change) but both partial ones have variable (increasing) frequencies. Third, tilting the head of the bird changes the spectrum of sounds and the series of partials becomes inharmonic.

Regarding the original bottle, it should be noted that the phenomenon is singular and anomalous because with increasing direct insufflation, the same sequence of two notes is repeated twice A5-D6 (do#6variable). The anomaly is that at higher pressure the fundamental jumps towards a lower regime. This phenomenon is probably due to the fact that it is a complex system in which the perforated cavity of the bird's head encloses the whistle and this acts both as an external resonator and as a filter, modifying the whistle spectrum alone, but it also induces this repetition of almost identical behaviours (2 times a serious-acute jump). In this way the succession of sounds emitted by the vessel really imitates those of a bird very well.

In the tests of the hydraulic system in the replica bottle, a similar effect is achieved with two sounds as well, but the noise of the clicking of the water is added during the oscillating movement of the artefact similar to the sounds made by water in a moving stream.

The size of the replica has no effect on the results from analysis of the acoustic structure. Rather, thanks to these replicas, it has been possible to characterise this structure. The possible changes or sonorous variations owing to the difference in the size of the replica compared with the original were not evaluated with the object of faithfully imitating the sounds produced, but rather to analyse and test the sound structure. For future research, it would be interesting to study how the listener perceives sound from a variety of distances, using the replicas in a natural environment, closer to what might have been the case in the past.

Further work is in progress and includes the study of the internal organological system of this same object; the study of the triple globular anthropomorphic bottle with double whistle from the Bahía-Ecuador culture (belonging to Crespo's phase 6 (1966)); and other related research such as the study of the anthropomorphic flutes of the Bahía culture and the study of the pututos or conch shells. It is hoped that the present study creates a point of departure for researchers to continue contributing to the knowledge and practice of ceramics to the reconstruction of the entire evolutionary process of the whistle bottle. It would be interesting to reproduce all six stages as proposed by Crespo (1966) to try and discover the contribution of each one of them to establish and clarify the development of these objects.


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