Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1989.
Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 104A, Archaic and Classical Greece
Pendant in the Form of a Bird Atop a Disk
Greece (Place Created)
6.9 × 1.3 cm (2 11/16 × 1/2 in.)
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
With its schematic, S-shaped body, this long-billed water bird perches above a disk. Incised lines embellish the base of the neck and tail of the bird, and the disk is incised with concentric circles. The bird is pierced through its neck, indicating that it was originally suspended. Similar examples are known from various sites in the Peloponnese and Thessaly in Northern Greece.
Water birds were a popular motif in Greek Geometric art. Small bronze statuettes of birds, often perched on top of disks or openwork spheres, were a customary votive dedication in sanctuaries throughout Greece. Some examples, however, have been found in graves, suggesting they served a funereal as well as votive function. As many of these birds are pierced for suspension, they might originally have served as dress ornaments or pendants on necklaces. However, the precise function is unclear.
True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), p. 46, cat. no. 7.
"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 63.