Bird Jug

11008181-2004_055_001_Apa_ARC.tif

Title

Bird Jug

Date

ca. 700 BC

Context

Cypro-Archaic I
Cyprus
Cypriot Bichrome IV

Medium/Dimensions

Ceramic
6 1/2 x 5 in. (16.5 x 12.7 cm)

Object Number

2004.055.001

Description

Starkly isolated against a background without any subsidiary ornament, a bird hovers beside a foliate spray. The freshness and the pictorial character of the painting seem a deliberate reaction against aesthetic traditions that promoted patternwork. This so-called "free field" style was adopted by a small group of vase-painters working mostly in Southern and Eastern Cyprus at the end of the eighth century and beginning of the seventh. Their subject matter was restricted: bulls, gazelles, but above all birds. The rich use of black and red glaze on a cream ground has given rise to the term "bichrome".

The association between birds and jugs on Cyprus can be traced back into the Bronze Age on duck-askoi, and on a series of jugs (sometimes decorated with birds) the shape of whose body, neck, and mouth seem to be inspired by birds singing. Birds in the ancient Greek world were considered divinely inspired, oracular; they were also sometimes kept as pets. Migrating birds, particularly the swallow and its appearance in spring, regularly caught the imagination of both poet and artist. It is not known what the associations (if any) between birds and wine-jugs may have been. They may have included spring-time, when the birds returned and the new wine was first opened and not necessarily articulate song-as the symposiast drank more, he became more voluble.

Today, it is customary to speak of vessels in anthropomorphic terms: they have handles, mouths, lips, shoulders, feet. The eyes on the spout of this one are among the earliest examples known of this tradition. Here they may also have been considered apotropaic, warding off the evil eye and guiding the liquid without spillage into its new container.

Credit Line

Museum purchase

Exhibits/Publications

From Pharaohs to Emperors: New Egyptian and Classical Antiquities at Emory, Michael C. Carlos Museum, January 14 - April 2, 2006|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, July 2014 - Present
MCCM Newsletter, December 2005 - February 2006.|
Peter Lacovara and Jasper Gaunt, "From Pharaohs to Emperors: Egyptian, Near Eastern & Classical Antiquities at Emory," Minerva 17 (January/February 2006): 9-16.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum: Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 43.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2005.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Bird Jug,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 13, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7868.

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