The Testimony of Hands

68.43.54, hawk bell

68.43.54, brass hawk bell, 2 centimeters (¾ inch) tall
San Gabriel de Yunque (A.D. 1598–1610)
UNM field school collection
Photograph by B. Bernard

There are two explanations (at least) for this bell's presence at the first Spanish capital of New Mexico. In the late 1500s and early 1600s, Spanish hidalgos (gentlemen) went hawking as a sport, and tied such bells to hawks' legs so the hawks could be located by sound in high grass and brush. It's also possible that the bell was brought to New Mexico as something to trade to the native population.

This bell was recently loaned to a researcher in Mississippi, for detailed study—an example of how the museum's collections benefit people everywhere, not just those in New Mexico. A different view of the bell is provided below.

68.43.54, hawk bell

Second view of brass hawk bell
Photograph by B. Bernard

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