Purchase, Tianaderrah Foundation and Austin B. Chinn Gifts; Larry and Ann Burns Gift, in honor of Austin B. Chinn; Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, David H. Koch, Harry and Linda Macklowe, and Charlotte C. Weber Gifts, 2013
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
This relief, cut down from a larger composition, shows an imaginary bird, a cock with a griffin-like head, set within foliage. It is from Salerno, where it was said to have been built into the masonry of a church. It was reused at a later date, and cut into its present form. While its original function is unknown, it may have been part of a chancel screen, a low wall in front of the sanctuary of a church. The exotic and orientalizing bird reflects the rich interchange of design motifs between the Islamic, Sasanian, Byzantine, and south Italian cultures in the century around 1000.
Said to be from a church in Salerno, Italy (until 1920s or 1930s); Kurt Cassirer, Berlin (by early 1930s); Mr. and Mrs. Louis Jones, Yorkshire, England (1936–2013); [ Sam Fogg, Ltd., London (sold 2013)]
Vikan, Gary. Catalogue of the Sculpture in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection from the Ptolemaic Period to the Renaissance. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1995. pp. 87–90, fig. 35.1a, b.
Cahn, Walter, and Linda Seidel. Romanesque Sculpture in American Collections: Volume 2, New York and New Jersey, Middle and South Atlantic States, the Midwest, Western and Pacific States. Turnhout: Brepols, 1999. p. 116.