conch-shell trumpet

Trumpet made from a large shell, blown from the side.

This shell is the Charonia tritonis. A single hole has been drilled in the shell where the shell is solid. The hole is placed against the lips and blown using the same technique as for a brass instrument. The most common use of the conch is as a signalling device to announce a wide variety of both secular and religious events. At sea the conch is blown to ensure that divers on spear fishing drives work as a group. When a high chief dies in Fiji conch shells are blown continuously by relays of people in an unbroken signal from the time of death until the burial.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

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