Roman-Nabataean Terracotta Dove Shaped Vessel


An extremely fine Ancient Roman bright red terracotta vessel, modelled in the shape of a dove. The bird is rendered in an extremely naturalistic manner, with anatomical features, such as the wings and feathers, emphasised by a delicate incised motif. There is a small handle-like hump on the back of the dove, which has been pierced through. The red terracotta, from which such vessel has been modelled, indicates that the vessel might have been produced in the Nabataean region, as red terracotta is a characteristic of Nabataean pottery, caused by the high level of iron in the clay used. The item comes with a custom wood stand.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd Century AD
Condition: Very fine, some earthly encrustations remain on the surface.


SKU: CS-145 Category: Tag:

Nabatean, or Nabataean, pottery and coroplastic production, recovered since the very first organized archaeological excavations of Petra in Jordan, attest the great skills of Nabatean craftsmen. Since the 1st century BC, the Nabateans developed a specific and characteristic style in their pottery production, without any reference to the Hellenistic artistic tradition. Nabatean pottery is characterised by bright red terracotta, fine modelling, painted decoration, and displaying a smooth and matte finishing. Many different shapes have been recovered, including huge jars, pots, flacons for storage of perfumes and ointments, and bowls. With the Roman conquest of the Nabataean area around 150 AD, Nabatean pottery production started losing its thinness and polychrome decoration, becoming more crude and simple. Doves were favourite animals in Roman culture, not only because their flight would have been observed and interpreted for positive omens, but also because of their association with the Roman goddess of love Venus. Doves were indeed animals sacred to the goddess, and often appear on pieces of jewellery, paintings and mosaics.

Weight 165 g
Dimensions L 7.5 cm


Pottery and Porcelain


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