Votive Figurine of a Horse, 800-750 BCE
Geometric Period
Greece, possibly Thessaly region
Copper alloy
1 7/8 × 2 7/8 × ½ in. (4.8 × 7.3 × 1.3 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
X 2126.03

Photo: Paul Hester
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This small horse figure belongs to a class of objects produced during the late Geometric period (800–750 BCE). The majority of figurines such as this one are known from votive deposits. Such collections, often buried within sanctuary grounds, include objects that were offered and dedicated to the gods. This horse in particular shares similarities with those found in excavated contexts at Olympia in Elis, Greece. However, caches of similar small figurines have been found at crossroads, the Athenian Agora, and other sanctuaries, including Delphi, Pherai, and Karditsa. As votive gifts, the figurines are thought not only to stand in for the donation of an animal as well as to demonstrate a significant financial donation.


Like another bronze horse in the Menil’s collection (X 2126.02), this horse is separate from its base or was originally produced to be freestanding. Compared with others from the same time period, it appears to have been hastily produced. The head and neck are thick and oversized for the body and legs. The muzzle is tubular with an indention added with a chisel to indicate the mouth. The legs are stiff cylinders without any indications of the joints or hooves. The tail is intact, but rigid.