• latw-86-1
    Duck vase. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)
  • latw-86-2
    Duck vase. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • latw-86-3
    Duck vase. (©Archaeological Exploration of Sardis/President and Fellows of Harvard College)

Lydian duck vase

Ca. mid-6th c BC, Lydian
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, 6571
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Object Type
Pottery Shape
Duck Vase
Pottery Ware
Lydian Painted
Pottery Attribution
MMS-I 86.1
MMS-I 86.1 Locus 124
B-Grid Coordinates
E148 - E148.2 / S66.4 - S66.7 *99.52
Closed vessel in the shape of a duck, built of four wheel-made pieces with plastic additions. Flaring conical foot. Body was thrown as a bowl, then elongated, folded and cut. Semi-naturalistic head turned to left. Small horizontal tail. Cylindrical strainer neck on top of body just front of center. Strap handle. Tubular spout, now broken, attached to lower body on left side, angling up and out from body. Pointed knobs on either side of spout. Mottled orange to brown slip over entire vessel. Slight incised decoration or graffiti: horizontal and one vertical line on front of neck, representing creases? Almost complete, mended from many fragments; end of spout and part of strainer missing. Height 0.203 m, length 0.203 m.
From the “kitchen” of a Lydian house (Area 3, with Nos. 61, 63, 78, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85). The spout on top of the duck would have been used to fill the vessel; the drinker could then drink from the straw-like spout on the side (now broken off), while the hole in the beak of the duck would allow air to escape while filling the vessel. However, the hole that pierces the side of the vessel where the straw spout attaches is too small to allow more than a trickle of fluid to escape, while the large size of the duck suggests that it was used for relatively large quantities of liquid (unlike the far more delicate spouted vessel from the Acropolis; see Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”). Like No. 70 and other spouted vessels from Sardis and elsewhere, it has been suggested that this could have been used for drinking beer (Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”).
See Also
Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”; Cahill, “Persian Sack”.
Greenewalt et al. 1990, 149-150, fig. 12; Cahill 2000.