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A plumed bird with a long skinny neck and tail.

A bird stands on two wide flat legs which come together at the bottom, there are no feet indicated. The head, body, and tail all look like one elongated tube which is narrowest at the beak and widest at the middle of the body, flattening at the end for the tail. It has a tall plume with four bumps on its head, and a small set of two spikes coming from its back, possibly part of wings. There are no fine details visible, and the surface is a mottled beige-green color all over.

Gallery Text

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin that has been used for thousands of years to make objects as diverse as sculpture and figurines, weapons and armor, and jewelry and tableware. The addition of tin and sometimes lead made the alloy more versatile and lowered its melting point; another common copper alloy is brass (copper and zinc), which was in widespread use in the Roman period. Although other materials, like stone, glass, and terracotta, were available, copper alloy items were valued for their golden sheen, versatility, and durability. The material lent prestige and beauty to objects like these statuettes, most of which would have been dedicated to the gods. Modern bronzes are often artificially patinated, like the Rodin sculpture in this colonnade. While ancient bronzes were sometimes gilded or deliberately darkened, the unaltered surfaces naturally acquired a red, green, or brown patina over time.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Rooster Pendant
Work Type
statuette, sculpture
8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Thessaly
Geometric period
Persistent Link


Level 3, Room 3200, Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Art, Classical Sculpture
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Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
6.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 cm (2 5/8 x 2 1/2 x 1/2 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a varied green with spots of red and brown burial accretions. The surface is fairly well preserved. The shallow relief decorations on the right leg have been reinforced with modern incisions using a sharp point.

The bird is a solid cast and was probably modeled directly in the wax. Faint diagonal relief marks decorating the outside of the legs were probably also made in the wax.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Pomerance Collection, Great Neck, NY, (by 1966). Sol L. and Colleen Rabin, Los Angeles, CA, (by 2006), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2006.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Sol Rabin in honor of David Mitten
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This stylized rooster pendant has a pointed beak and a flat, four-pronged crest on top of its head (1). Its long, curving neck expands into the body before tapering and fattening at the tail into a shape that mimics that of the head. There are no details on the head or body. On the center of the back are the remains of the suspension loop. The legs are two flat, rectangular bars that merge at the base. On the inside of each leg, just below the midpoint, is a small raised knob. Zigzag lines are incised along the exterior of both legs.


1. For the type, see I. Kilian-Dirlmeier, Anhänger in Griechenland von der mykenischen bis zur spätgeometrischen Zeit, Prähistorische Bronzefunde 11.2 (Munich, 1979) 134-35, nos. 731-39, pls. 39-40 (Harvard’s pendant is no. 732).

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • Brooklyn Museum, The Pomerance Collection of Ancient Art: Catalog of an exhibition held at the Brooklyn Museum, June 14 to October 2, 1966, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY, 1966), p. 80, no. 90.
  • Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, Anhänger in Griechenland von der mykenischen bis zur spätgeometrischen Zeit, C. H. Beck (Munich, 1979), p. 134, no. 732.
  • Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2005-2006 (Cambridge, MA, 2007), p. 11.

Exhibition History

  • The Pomerance Collection of Ancient Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 06/14/1966 - 10/02/1966
  • 32Q: 3200 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project
  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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