Ancient Greek
Bird, 5th century BCE
Greece, Boeotia
3 ½ × 1 ¾ × 3 ¼ in. (8.9 × 4.4 × 8.3 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
Gift of E.M. VItali
CA 6118

Photo: Paul Hester
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Made with a mold and additional hand-modeled features such as the cylindrical legs, this hollow representation of a bird would have been suitable as a votive or funerary offering. Other examples of bird figures are known from excavated contexts dating to the 5th century BCE in Boeotia and Attica, Greece. Although the archaeological provenience of this object is unknown, the dealer indicated it was from Boeotia. Like other examples, including those in the Menil Collection (CA 6122, 1967-19), this object has a small circular vent hole on the bottom, which allowed the figures to dry more evenly, to release any moisture to escape during firing in order to reduce cracks, and to make the overall object lighter. This figure remains intact, minus some wear on the feet and a small chip on one leg. It also has a preserved white slip that once covered the entire surface (now encrusted from its time in the soil), as well as some added details in color, such as a red eye and red beak. An old black ink label on the underside may indicate a previous collection or dealer’s inventory number, which may possibly read 3117.