This charming figurine of a bird is hollow cast, probably by the lost wax method. The simple lines and the way in which the creature’s flat, fanning tail and downward-gazing head extend from the bulbous body, imbue it with an abstract and contemporary aesthetic. A circular hole with a delicate rim pierces the middle of each side. On the top, in the middle of the bird’s back, is a drop-shaped loop for suspension, and, instead of feet, a flange-like terminal hangs from the fattest part of the belly. In style, our bird closely resembles another example currently in the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (inv. no. 54.198, circa 700 BC), though, here, the sense of proportion is finer and the overall form more impactful.
This bird belongs to a particular category of Geometric Greek bronzes, most of which come from Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly. It is thought that they were suspended from trees as votive offerings in outdoor sanctuaries, intended to act as permanent reminders of the dedicant’s piety, and in the hope of receiving the god’s divine benefaction.
D. Mitten and S. Doeringer, Master Bronzes of the Classical World (Cambridge, MA, 1968), no. 23.
M. Comstock and C. Vermeule, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan Bronzes in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 1971), no. 10.
D. Mitten, Classical Bronzes (Providence, Rhode Island School of Design, 1975), no. 7.
with Ariadne Galleries, New York, 1979.