Bird, 5th century BCE
Archaic Period
Greece, possibly Attica or Boeotia region
4 7/8 × 2 3/8 × 6 ¼ in. (12.4 × 6 × 15.9 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
Gift of Alexander Iolas
CA 6122

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Hollow and partially made with a mold, this bird most likely represents a dove. Such figures are well-known from 5th century BCE contexts in Boeotia and nearby Attica as a common type of dedication known from both sanctuaries and tombs. The bird faces frontally and has both wings tucked on either side. Incised bands on the wings indicate feathers, and the statuette has a small, round vent hole on the underside. Repaired in modern times, it had previously broken near the junction with the tail. Like other terracotta birds, the surface is covered with a white slip. Some of the figures have evidence of painted decoration on the slip like 1967-21 DJ in the Menil Collection, but others, including this example, appear to be mostly uniformly white. While birds were common household pets in antiquity, flights of birds could indicate portents, and white doves were associated with divine figures, such as Aphrodite and Eros. This figure was given to the de Menils in 1961 and no archaeological provenience is known.