This work imitates a pelican's foot shell, which is common to the Mediterranean. Only a handful of marble shells are known. They must have been manufactured in the same Greek workshops that produced elegant marble vessels intended as grave offerings for the dead.
von Bothmer, Dietrich, Carlos A. Picón, Joan R. Mertens, Elizabeth J. Milleker, and Ariel Herrmann. 1995. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1994–1995: Ancient World." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 53(2): p. 10.
Picón, Carlos A. and Joan R. Mertens. 1995. "Ancient Art at the Metropolitan: Recent Acquisitions by the Greek and Roman Department." Apollo, 142. p. 28, fig. 3.
Manchester, Karen. 1999. "The New Greek and Roman Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Apollo, 150: p. 7, fig. 8.
Zervoudaki, Eos. 2001. "Marble Shells." To Mouseion, 2: pp. 13, 26.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 150, pp. 135, 434, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.