Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings Susanne Ebbinghaus

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
25 Sep 2018
ISBN:
9780300237030
Imprint:
Harvard Art Museums
Dimensions:
400 pages: 273 x 235mm
Illustrations:
335 color + b-w illus.

Vessels shaped as bulls, lions, birds, donkeys, and other animals were routinely used to pour and drink liquids at feasts throughout the ancient world. Bringing together animal-shaped vessels from the Mediterranean, the Near and Far East, and the Americas, this fascinating cross-cultural study is the first large-scale consideration of this phenomenon. Experts from around the world reveal how these entertaining, often extremely lifelike vessels functioned not only as feasting paraphernalia but also as ritual implements, symbols of social status, and objects of artistic exchange and experimentation. Taking up questions ranging from the mechanics of drinking from such unwieldy containers to considerations of what the preference for these shapes says about the nature of human-animal relationships, this book uses a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to offer a unique window onto the experiences of the individuals and communities who raised up these magnificent objects in pleasure and in praise.

Susanne Ebbinghaus is the George M. A. Hanfmann Curator of Ancient Art and head of the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at the Harvard Art Museums.