Happenings 03
COLLECTIONS / Best of Museum

Clay bowl with a bird pecking a tree

Glazed bowl representing a bird pecking a plant, with the decoration executed in the fine sgraffito, incised sgraffito and champlevé techniques. Product of a workshop located in Thessaloniki. In the well of the bowl, a bird is depicted turned towards the right, pecking at stylized leaf or tree. Behind the bird are a trefoil motif inscribed in a circle and two lozenges with oblique hatching. Four parallel lines mark the bowl’s perimeter on the interior, with two on the exterior. The external decoration is completed with lines perpendicular to the base. White slip on the interior and upper part of the exterior surface is covered by shiny yellow glaze. Traces of the bowl’s adhering to an adjacent vase during firing are visible on the exterior. The imprint of a clay tripod at the bottom indicates that the bowl was stacked with other similar bowls to save space in the kiln.

The discovery at Thessaloniki of pottery wares decorated with similar birds pecking at a leaf or tree and of a relatively large number of vessels with this motif led to its association with local workshops and local Late Byzantine production. Accordingly, vessels with the same motif from other regions were also considered products or imitations of vessels produced in Thessaloniki. However, recent excavations for the construction of the metropolitan railway in Istanbul uncovered similar vessels, some unfinished, which were attributed to the ceramic workshops of Sirkeci in Istanbul. Chemical analysis showed a different composition than that of the Thessaloniki vessels, thus demonstrating a parallel production of similar vessels in the ceramic workshops of both Thessaloniki and Constantinople.


ΒΚ 4519/192




late 13th-14th c.


Height 8,3 cm., rim diameter 14,3 cm., base diameter 5,7 cm.

Material of Construction




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