- Museum number
Pottery: red-figured askos (perfume or oil vase) in the form of a duck.
Designs in relief and painted in black on pale red ground; probably of Etruscan manufacture. Handle over the back; spout on the tail. The beak and feathers of the duck are picked out with black, the wave- and other patterns being intermixed with the feathers; the neck and head are black, and round the neck are five rings. On the back, two crosses and two rosettes of dots; on the handle, maeander; round the spout, rays, wavy band, and black spots.
On the breast is painted a female figure moving to left, looking back, with hair gathered in a double sphendone, short girt bordered chiton and apoptygma, and sandals, in right hand a phiale, in left an oinochoe. On one side of the body is a female figure in relief, reclining with head towards the first figure, looking back over left shoulder; she has a himation over her arms, sphendone, and black shoes, and her hair is gathered up in masses at the back and over the forehead; in her left hand is an alabastron, and with right she holds up her drapery. On the other side is a male figure in relief, similarly attired, with hair gathered up in the same manner; head to right, looking back over right shoulder; in left hand he has a lyre, in right a plectrum.
- Production date
Height: 15 centimetres
Length: 22.90 centimetres
Width: 9.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- In keeping with the overall aquatic theme, the figures in relief on either side appear almost as if swimming. They are probably male and female Lasa’s, spirits associated with lovers and attending at women’s beautification scenes. Regarding the duck itself, Brendel notes the association of various waterfowl with the circle of Turan (Aphrodite) (Brendel, O J, Etruscan Art, Yale University Press, 2nd edition, 1995, pp.351,458, n.35).
This type of vessel is associated with workshops in both Chiusi and Volterra in the second half of the 4th century BC. More often the decoration is simply painted, but sometimes with the addition of applied unpainted figures on the sides. The British Museum example is unique in having the applied figures painted.
Zoomorphic vessels for unguents were popular around the Aegean from the geometric period and soon became a favourite in Etruria. In the early Hellenistic period the dusk askos developed as an Etruscan speciality (cf. Haumesser, L, p.214, in Gli Etruschi dal’Arno al Tevere. Le Collezioni del Louvre a Cortona, Bruschetti, P,Gaultier, F, Haumesser, L, Giulierini, P, MAEC/Musée du Louvre, Skira, Geneva-Milan 2011).
[J. Swaddling in Bruschetti et al 2014, III.61]
Ant. du Cab. Ponrtales, pl. 39, p. 105.
- On display (G71/dc27)
- Exhibition history
2014 Mar 22 - 30 Sep, Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della Citta di Cortona, ' La Gran Bretagna e gli Etruschi '
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number