Birds Blog

5 Birds in Art 1900 B.C.- 100 A.D.

We can’t simply get enough of the Open Access images from The Met. Enjoy these five images of birds from 1900 B.C. – 100 A.D.

#1. Relief Fragment from Egypt

This relief features a gray heron and another heron, “possibly a purple heron”. Look closely at the top curved area (before the damaged part)—a few X-marks are present which might signify a nest with chicks, or a female heron incubating eggs. According to The Met, nests and mothers incubating eggs are common motifs in marsh scenes from this period.

“Relief Fragment with Two Birds in the Papyrus Thicket”. Middle Kingdom. Dynasty 12. Ca. 1925-1900 B.C. Egypt. Limestone, paint. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue.

#2. Bronze Sculpture From China

This sculpture was probably created by a technique called “piece-mold casting”. First a model is made of the desired cast-object, and then a clay mold is created from that model. Then sections of that model are cut and reassembled to form the casting mold. Read more about it here.

“Bird”. Late Eastern Zhou Dynasty. China. 700-256 B.C. Bronze.

#3. A Plate With a Man Riding a Rooster on it

Just a man riding a rooster on a plate because why not? The meaning is unknown, but the rooster is a reference to a “love-gift”. To learn more about love-gifts visit this Wiki page about Ganymede.

“Terracotta Plate”. Signed by Epiketos. Greek. Ca. 520-510 B.C. Terracotta. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue.

#4. Ibis and the god Thoth

This statue is life-size and thought to have been created as a “donation for an ibis cemetery” at on of the god Thoth’s temples. The body is made out of wood, the neck and bill are bronze, and the eyes are made of glass.

“Ibis”. 600-30 B.C. Egypt. Wood, gesso, linen, paint, bronze, glass. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue.

#5. Ibis on a Skateboard

Art is subjective, right? Well, this might look like an ibis on a skateboard (or not), but it’s really an inlay from a shrine of the god Thoth, and the ibis is actually Thoth. The feather that Thoth is resting his bill on is a symbol of the goddess of justice, Maat. Thoth is god of writing and “all things intellectual”. Read more from The Met, here.

“Inlay depicting Thoth as the ibis with a maat feather”. Egypt. 4th Century B.C. Faience. On view at The Met Fifth Avenue.

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