most traditional siurell figures are a horseman,
devil and a lady. Made from clay, dipped in white lime and daubed with
red and green streaks, the base of each is a whistle. It was once
customary for every child visiting the annual San
Marçal Fair to be bought one of these whistles.
Prior to their becoming playthings for children, it is believed they
were blown either to banish evil spirits or that they were used to
summon the wind at threshing time to assist in separating the grain. In
addition, blown on the night of the full moon, the horseman was said to
bring luck the devil, money, and the lady, love.
The siurell may
originate from the Minoan civilisation, as there are figures in Crete
from the Palace at Knossos. It is known that people of that era visited
the Balearic Islands.