Overview: head facing left

Overview: head facing rear

Overview: head facing front

Overview: head facing right

Collection: Toledo Museum of Art
Summary: Plastic vessel in the form of a swan
Ware: Ionian Black Figure
Date: ca. 575 BC - ca. 550 BC

H. 0.113 m., l. 0.156 m., w. 0.067 m.

Shape: Swan
Period: Archaic


A small hole in the right side of the neck has been replastered and repainted. Most painted decoration is worn.

Decoration Description:

Plastic mold-made perfume vessel in the form of a swan. It has a single opening where its tail feathers end, beneath the overlapping tips of the tucked back wings. The swan's bill rests on the front of its neck, which forms an S-curve and rests on the swan's back. The bird sits on its folded legs and tucks its feet into its body. The eyes and the upper and lower portions of the bill are marked by incised grooves.

Overall the swan is built from a fine-grained reddish brown fabric which distinguishes its Ionian origins (see Higgins, R., 1954, Catalogue of Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum II, London, pp. 32, no. 1661, pl. 24). Black dots in rows denote the down on the neck and lower body. The juncture of the legs with the body is shown by bands of fanning black marks. The feet and the space between them, as well as the bill, are reserved. The bill has single rows of black dots running along it. A dilute black slip covers the wings, tail feathers, and head. Parallel incised lines mark the individual wing and tail feathers, with curved incised lines joining adjacent feathers in five tiers on the wings and three on the tail. Rows of white dots appear over the black slip on top of the wings. On the head, added white dots appear over the black slip; under it the black dots of the neck continue. The incised grooves around the eyes are in added white, and inside these lines are more circles of added red. The bill and nares have added red incised lines for emphasis.

Sources Used:

CVA, USA fasc. 20, pp. 5-6, pl. 69

Other Bibliography:

Toledo Museum News 1964: 74; Wittmann, O., 1965, Treasures at Toledo, Ohio, Apollo 81: 29; Art Quarterly 29 (1966): 289; Ducat, J., 1966, Les vases plastiques rhodiens, Bibliothèque des Écoles Francaises d'Athènes et de Rome 209, Paris, p. 92, no. 6; A Guide to the Collections, The Toledo Museum News, 1966, p. 7; Riefstahl 1968, p. 26; Lakofsky, C., 1968, Pottery, Dubuque, p. 330; Morse, J. D., 1969, Toledo, Ohio: Museum of Art, McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art 5, New York, p. 330; Neils, J., 1981, Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Cleveland, p. 118, no. 99; Antiken I, p. 49, fig. 55.<