Terracotta doves, Asian Greece, 300-100 BC

Terracotta doves, Asian Greece, 300-100 BC
Dating:300 BC–100 BC
Origin:Greek World,
Material:Pottery (all types)
Physical:7.6cm. (3 in.) - 38 g. (1.3 oz.)

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Links to others representing Aphrodite

Bronze statuette of Aphrodite, Ptolemaic
Bronze Venus, Alexandria, 50 BC-50 AD

Links to others of type Animal figurine

Bronze ram head ornament, 150-50 BC
Small votive bronze bull, Crete, 1600 BC
  These terracotta doves were originally painted, and sparse traces of red pigment remain. In the Greek World, doves were votive birds dedicated to Aphrodite. Asian Greece, 300-100 BC.

“The sanctuary at Aphrodisias also appears to have housed flocks of doves, which were considered to be sacred to the local goddess. The primary evidence for this comes from a fragmentary inscription on a marble base, dated to the second half of the first century A.D., found outside the city walls in 1934. The text declares it forbidden to ‘catch, keep, or scare’ the doves, which are somehow associated with the local goddess. Little else is known about the precise function of doves in the cult of Aphrodite. Two appear on the base of one of the surviving statuettes of the goddess, and the original temple statue could have stood on a similarly decorated base (although this is impossible to prove). Terra-cotta doves found in the sanctuary were probably votive dedications, and such offerings are common in sanctuaries throughout the Greek world.[23] A dove perched on a budding branch also appears on an Aphrodisian coin type from the early third century A.D. . . . The sanctity of doves was a long-established tradition in the Near East and Greece from the second millennium B.C. onward; they were associated with various Aegean fertility goddesses, including the Dea Syria, the Phoenician Astarte, and the Greek Aphrodite. As at Aphrodisias, doves were considered sacred in Babylonia because Queen Semiramis, wife of King Ninos and daughter of the goddess Derketo-Atargatis, was believed to have been transformed into a dove” (Brody 2001, Kernos 14, 93-109, in www.geocities.com/lisa_brody/Kernos.html).

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