Loading
Closed Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400
Closed Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400

Menil

Revetment Plaque Depicting Equestrian Figure and Griffin, 6th century BCE
Archaic Period
Turkey, Düver
Terracotta and paint
13 ¾ × 16 7/8 × 5 ½ in. (34.9 × 42.9 × 14 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
1965-21 DJ

Front view
Image 2: Side view Image 3: Top view
1965 21 dj 20190703 006c v01 m
1965 21 dj 20190703 007c v01 m
Learn More

Once belonging to a monumental building, this terracotta revetment marked the transition point from the building to the roof. The waterspout, a portion of which is still attached, would have functioned as a gutter to funnel rainwater off the roof. Terracotta was used to better protect the ends of the wooden superstructure from the elements. This revetment and its companion piece in the Menil Collection (1965-22 DJ) were made from a mold, which explains the consistency between the two objects. Other similar plaques are in collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia today and all originally came from one building in Düver, Turkey. Although its exact form is not known, the scale of the architectural terracottas suggests it was monumental in size. When combined, the revetments would have created a pattern of alternating mounted rider and griffin around the exterior of building. The paint on this example is heavily worn, but once would have defined details on all three figures. There is no known mythological precedent for the imagery, nor are there elements of a battle between the horsemen and the griffins. Nassos Papalexandrou, in his study of these pieces, notes that griffins are symbols of value and act as guardians.