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Mallorca souvenirs: Siurells

Hand made clay whistles

siurell whistle figures

If you've ever looked in some some of the more traditional souvenir shop windows in Mallorca you'll have probably seen the little white figurines splashed with primary colours of paint and, like me, wondered what they are. They're called Siurells and inside each figurine is a whistle which was used by farmers and shepherds to control their flocks of sheep and goats.

The origin of the Siurell is unsure; some say Moorish, others Phoenician or Cretan but for hundreds of years they have been made in small potteries all over Mallorca, usually by women and children in the good old days when kids had to earn a living.

Made by hand and fashioned from clay, they're baked, soaked in a lime bath to give them their white colour and then painted in bright blues, greens, yellows and reds – all water colours made from natural substances. Nowadays, because of demand for the products and labour costs, less and less Siurells are made using this simple, ecological method in favour of a more industrial process.

Originally the little whistles took the form of fantastic, mythical creatures like animals, demons, giants and dwarfs, and latterly more common themes were used; farmers, men on horseback or country women. These days, you can also find Siurells in the form of today's idols – footballers and the like!

You can see and buy a whole variety of these little whistles online for just a few Euros – take a look.