Whistle

About this object

Narrative

Since the 19th century, pottery toys from Barcelos have become ubiquitous throughout Portugal. Today they are more elaborate than the whistles and figures first written about by travellers more than a century ago.

Iconographic meaning

Domingos Côto (1877–1959) made the first rooster in 1935. They soon became the emblematic image of Portugal, buoyed by their popularity and the dictatorship’s enthusiasm for creating a uniquely Portuguese rural decorative style. Ubiquitous toy whistles, widely commented on in the 19th century, sometimes also took the form of roosters. The rooster embodies often stated Portuguese characteristics such as honesty, integrity, trust, and humour.

Physical description

Small ceramic rooster shaped whistle in pink with a large red comb and a blue base. Floral and polka dot design on the body.