China, 1600's late Ming Henan Black Ware Tribal Ocarina Wind Instrument Whistle. Of fig shape with rounded body and 8 holes on the front and back with an escape on the neck and glazed mouth piece, in the Song to Yuan style of earlier Henan black wares or changsha ware, though likely later in dating. The deep amber glaze darkening to brown in areas. Incised mark to front. It measures approx. 2 3/4" x 4" x 2 1/2".
The ocarina belongs to a very old family of instruments, believed to date back over 12,000 years. Ocarina-type instruments have been of particular importance in Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures. For the Chinese, the instrument played an important role in their long history of song and dance. The ocarina has similar features to the Xun (塤), another important Chinese instrument (but is different in that Ocarina uses an internal duct, whereas Xun is blown across the outer edge).