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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.1.139
Title
Votive Figurine of a Deer
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
mid 6th-early 5th century BCE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Laconia
Period
Archaic period
Culture
Greek
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/173988
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Lead
Technique
Cast
Dimensions
2.8 x 3.1 cm (1 1/8 x 1 1/4 in.)
Provenance
Humfry Payne Collection (?-1936), England. [Galerie Gunter Puhze, Freiburg, Germany, 2001], sold; to The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (2001-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
2012
Object Number
2012.1.139
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Flat lead figurine of a deer with legs bent out of shape; the antlers present on other examples appear to have broken off. The plain back of the figurine suggests that it was cast in a one-sided mold; surplus lead seeped out during the casting process and still lines the animal's contours.
Commentary
Small, flat figurines cast of lead were common dedications in the sanctuaries of Laconia, the territory of Sparta. Over 100,000 examples were found in the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia alone. Different types of figurines were mass-produced in one-sided molds with a plain back. They depict a winged goddess and other deities (such as Athena), warriors, women, animals, and various objects, such as wreaths and branches. Representations of deer became common in the 6th century BCE, almost certainly because of their affiliation with Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The ubiquity and often careless execution of the figurines indicate that they were affordable for a large section of the population. They thus reflect popular beliefs and practices.
Publication History

Melissa LaScaleia, "The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia Revisited", Persephone (Fall 2002), Vol. 6, No. 1, 20-23

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu