About this object


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

Ceramic whistle in the shape of a black rooster, or cockerel, with a red comb and wattle and a long yellow beak. There are three protruding multi-coloured flowers, one on each wing and one on the tail. There are six holes through the front and one through the back of the whistle.