One pair of Etruscan plates: Five stylized birds

Attributed to the Heron Class680 - 670 B.C.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

A band of stylized birds, generally referred to as herons, decorates the underside of this Etruscan plate. The greatly elongated, silhouetted bodies of the birds completely fill the space. The small pair of holes just below the rim is a frequent feature of Etruscan plates in this period; they may have been used to hang the vessels when not in use.

The plate's shape appears to be an adaptation of Phoenician plates, also decorated with concentric circles, that were imported to Italy. The Etruscan potter created a new class of pottery by merging this Phoenician shape with a Greek decorative syntax and an Etruscan motif. Typical of a style scholars call sub-Geometric, this plate and its mate retained the primarily linear decoration of the earlier Geometric period at a time when other artists were producing works in the new Orientalizing style.

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  • Title: One pair of Etruscan plates: Five stylized birds
  • Creator: Attributed to the Heron Class
  • Date: 680 - 670 B.C.
  • Location Created: Caere, Etruria
  • Physical Dimensions: 29 cm (11 7/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Terracotta
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 96.AE.138.1
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Antiquities
  • Culture: Etruscan (Caeretan)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
  • Classification: Vessels