Ancient Greek
Dog, late 6th century BCE
Greece, Boeotia
3 ¾ × 3 7/8 × 1 3/8 in. (9.5 × 9.8 × 3.5 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
CA 63101

Photo: Paul Hester
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This figure of a quadruped, most likely representing a dog, probably originates from Boeotia, Greece during the late 6th century BCE. Handmade, this figure fits within a tradition of terracotta figural production in the region that depicted animals, often horses and birds. Traces of pigment on the figure’s surface indicate it would have had a white slip, possibly with additional colors such as red. Like birds, canines were kept as pets in ancient Greece, serving as companions, guardians, and hunting dogs. They often appear as small terracottas (such as this example), in vase paintings, and as reliefs, among other forms of art. Dogs might have had names similar to dogs today, like Rover or Spot, or names meant to bolster desirable traits, like Swift or Tracker. Terracotta figures of dogs could have functioned as toys, votive gifts at sanctuaries, or funerary offerings.