Bird-shaped Vessels of Bronze Age Cyprus as Three-dimensional Objects

Animal Iconography in the Archaeological Record - New Approaches, New Dimensions - Laerke Recht

Katarzyna Zeman-Wisniewska [+-]
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, Warsaw
Katarzyna Zeman-Wiśniewska, archaeologist, Institute of Archaeology, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. Her main fields of interest are the Cypriot and Greek Bronze and Early Iron Age archaeology, with special reference to cult and religion. Her recent research concerns birds in Prehistoric Cyprus.

Description

Cyprus is home to nearly 400 bird species and is annually visited by millions of birds during great spring and autumn migrations. This paper discusses the presence of birds in Cypriot prehistoric anthropogenic culture, using Bronze Age bird-shaped vessels (mostly askoi) as a case study, representing a rich variety of the island’s avifauna, from numerous ducks and pigeons to rare examples of partridge, vulture, and owl. They include vessels of simple forms, generally resembling waterfowl (ducks?), along with carefully modelled objects, which allow precise species identification. When identification is possible it often reveals species and subspecies which are still characteristic to Cyprus, or now endangered. A careful study of this vessel assemblage and their context (when possible) provide insights into the practical and symbolic role played by birds in the lives of the prehistoric inhabitants of Cyprus. Another aspect of these objects which is going to be discussed is their three-dimensionality. These are objects which were meant to be manipulated, touched, and seen from different angles. They also had the practical function of pouring liquids.

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Citation

Zeman-Wisniewska, Katarzyna. Bird-shaped Vessels of Bronze Age Cyprus as Three-dimensional Objects. Animal Iconography in the Archaeological Record - New Approaches, New Dimensions. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. May 2021. ISBN 9781781799260. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38879. Date accessed: 28 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38879. May 2021

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