Bird Whistles & Chimu


I have always been fascinated with bird sounds. I can remember going on trips with my parents when very young and smiling when I heard them signing in the background in any of our family adventures. This of course extended into my adult life, and makes me take pictures like a twitcher A slang name for bird watcher.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider there is a bird whistling jar placed in several areas in Paititi. 


This Chimu bird whistle is inspired from the real counterpart piece found below.


The actual whistle this is inspired from is found here.

Chimu Whistling Jar

Here is a few more

Whistling Jar Period:Pre-Columbian: Moche phase Date:200 B.C.–600 A.D. Geography:North Coast, Peru Culture:Peruvian


Jaguar Whistling Jar
Date:ca. 500–900


About Whistling Jars and other wind Instruments of the Andes

The Spanish through recorded accounts, from the 16th century, elaborated the importance of music in the pre-Inca and Inca cultures. They used music to communicate with the dead they used it in dance, war, healing and just for the sound in some cases. They created many instruments from bone, ceramic and shell just to mention a few materials.

The Moche iconography for one example shows a strong connection to death and musical instruments. Some of their ceramic images define walking in a death procession with flutes, rattles trumpets and drums.  The item you won’t see in these ceramic imagery processions are Moche whistles. These were funerary objects, too. Archaeologists discovered them in funerary sites used in human sacrifice rituals as well as the featured whistling jars. 

However, music was not only for death as stated before. It was played for entertainment in their homes and elsewhere at festivals etc. They had a versatile use for instruments in their culture. 

Whistling Jars Gallery 

The below video gallery has great examples of the sounds we hear from Shadow of the Tomb Raider. When you hear them in the game imagine these whistling jars being used by the people of Paititi. 



Chimu & Chan Chan

The screenshots of Chan Chan are from the videos below. 

 The Chimu are a culture with influences seen in the Paititi hub of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The Chimu Culture was centered in a settlement known as Chan Chan previously mentioned in this article. The settlement is not completely excavated at Chan Chan, however; there are many interesting discoveries already uncovered. Pardon the pun.

The settlement has at least 500 people working diligently to bring Chan Chan back to life. You can see the fabulous wall friezes that elaborately cover walls that belong to palaces. Each palace had its own court that resulted in small towns within the palace boundaries.

A Chimu frieze of a sea-bird screen shot by: Emma

The walls look honeycombed   and it is believed they  made the walls this way for air to circulate through them. The Chimu had no written language, so they used pictographs to denote the contents of rooms. You can see examples in the rooms that have friezes of sea birds (seen above) on the walls. Rooms with this symbol contained sea produce. Walls decorated with moons  usually had gold and jewelry for the ruler within those rooms. 

The Chimu people were proficient in irrigation. You can see the remains of irrigation channels  [/efn_note] stretching across the land where they would bring the snow-melt water from the Andes mountains into their settlement and transformed an arid desert terrain into a verdant food-producing land.

You can learn more about the Chimu at the following videos. I used the one found at this link:

The Chimu had a talent for metal works as well as architecture seen in Chan Chan the largest adobe city in the world. 

The videos below about Chan Chan show detailed info about metal works, of the Chimu people as well as Chan Chan culture location etc.  

Thank you for viewing my article that touched on the fascinating world of Moche and Chimu cultures in music, settlement and cultural practices. I shall be back with more updates. Stay tuned. 

Explore the World!


Footnotes & Citations

Bernier, Hélène. “Music in the Ancient Andes.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (originally published August 2009, last revised April 2010)






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