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Object: Putorino (bugle flute)

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Title Putorino (bugle flute)
Production Unknown (carver), 1700-1850, New Zealand
Medium summary Wood, paua shell, fibre
Materials wood, paua shell, natural fibre
Classification wind instruments, putorino
Technique woodcarving
Dimensions Overall: 557.5mm (Length) x 61mm (Width) x 54.7mm (Depth)
Credit line Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992
Registration number OL001039

The putorino is a wooden wind instrument, or bugle-flute, made from two split pieces of wood, hollowed, and bound together. At one end is a mouth piece through which the performer exhales into, while at the other extremity is either a solid end-point, or a small pierced hole. The putorino has no series of note-stops, but rather a single oval aperture in the centre of the instrument, usually forming the mouth of a carved face, which the performer uses to regulate the sound. The putorino has a feminine voice representing the female ancestor Hineraukatauri, who pesonifies flute music. It's sound has been described as the sound of water being poured from a gourd, 'Me te wai e utuutu ana'.

This putorino, which is beautifully carved, has two bilaterally opposed humanistic masks carved in high relief at each end, and one central mask. The upper and central masks both have notched paua shell (abalone) inlay eyes. It is an excellent example of the classic putorino flute, and is likely to have been made in the pre-contact or early contact period.

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