Terracotta vase in the shape of a cockerel

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 650–600 B.C.

Culture: Etruscan

Medium: Terracotta; bucchero

Dimensions: H. 4 1/16 in. (10.31 cm)

Classification: Vases

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1924

Accession Number: 24.97.21a, b


This small Bucchero vessel was used as a container for liquids, possibly as an inkwell. The top half of the head is removable and has a plug on the underside that serves as a stopper, and the small ring on the back shows that the vessel could be suspended from a cord. The tail of the cockerel, now missing, most likely curved downward to form a third foot. In addition to the decoration incised on the head and body, the 26 letters of the Etruscan alphabet are inscribed on the belly of the vessel, though the letter S appears twice. Instead of the usual right-to-left orientation of Etruscan writing, the alphabet here was inscribed left to right.