|Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology|
in the Ashmolean Museum
|Highlights of the Collection: Prehistoric Terracottas|
|Three-legged bird (AN1933.1685)||Back to previous page|
It is difficult to know how to describe this little creature, which is quite clearly in the tradition of the animal-shaped vessels of Red Polished Ware [e.g. AN1888.625, AN1971.856 (both below)]. It is probably a long-necked bird, of the sort which we see represented on later Cypriot pottery [e.g. AN1967.1088 (below)], but because it has three legs (in order to allow it to stand upright) it looks rather more like a three-legged dinosaur. Its simple decoration of painted lines gives a general impression of feathers. It has a small looped handle in the centre of the back, a bird-like head (with fairly deep incisions for eyes) on the end of a long neck, and a large round hole at the base of the neck giving access to the interior of the body which is hollow. It is just about the right size for a container of some valuable substance, such as special (perhaps perfumed?) oil, and may have been designed (with the addition of a stopper in the hole) to hold something of that sort.
A number of such small three-legged bird vessels are known, most of them presumably from tombs.
White Painted III, c. 1800 BC. No provenance.
|Related Objects (click on image to go to object)|
with bull's head
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