Ancient Roman Silver Bird Statuette


A fine ancient Roman bird statuette cast from silver. The bird features a triangular shaped body, short tail and a bowed head with a pointy beak and small comb. Small indentations are visible across the body mimicking feathers.

Please note, the statuette can not stand unaided.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd century AD
Provenance: ‘The Ancient Menagerie Collection’ formerly the property of a Cambridgeshire lady, collected since the 1990s and acquired from auctions and dealers throughout Europe and the USA, now ex London collection.
Condition: Fine condition

In stock

SKU: LD-637 Category: Tags: ,

Birds were incorporated in many different ways within the Roman society. The upper class, including royals, would keep exotic birds, such as peacocks, as pets for display as a way to demonstrate their wealth. They were also seen as a delicacy and enjoyed across the empire especially during feasts. Popular ones included peahen, pheasant and geese as well as bird eggs such as ostrich eggs, although rarely eaten. Some birds also had associations with Roman goddesses. Peacocks and peahens were sacrificed to Juno, the goddess of marriage, the Greek counterpart Hera. Therefore both birds became linked with fertility and marriage. The peacock is mentioned several times in connection with Juno in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and was known as the goddess’s sacred animal. Different birds were also enjoyed for entertainment purposes, they were hunted and dined on.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 3.7 g
Dimensions W 2.2 x H 1.8 cm