Bird, 6th-5th century BCE
Archaic Period
Greece, possibly Attica or Boeotia region
2 7/16 × 1 3/8 × 4 1/8 in. (6.2 × 3.5 × 10.5 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
CA 63102

Photo: Paul Hester
Learn More
Terracotta representations of birds, sometimes more specifically identified as doves or pigeons, were a common type of votive or funerary offering. Birds were known to be kept as household pets, and they could also have additional significance as representations of omens and connections with divine figures, such as Aphrodite and Eros. This figure was once fully covered in white slip and decorated with red banding, which is partially preserved on the animal’s left side. Extant examples were produced freehanded in solid clay (such as this piece), or with molds that resulted in hollow figures (e.g. 1967-21 DJ and CA 6122 among others in the Menil Collection). These types of representations are well-known from 5th century BCE contexts in Boeotia and nearby Attica. No archaeological provenience is recorded for this figure, which stylistically could have been produced in either region. It was acquired in 1963 by the de Menils from a dealer in Athens.