DescriptionThe "dove vase", one of the loveliest creations of Cycladic art, is a large, disc-shaped marble plate with low walls and a row of 16 integral doves carved in the round (chisel marks are visible on the sides of the birds), across the bottom. The birds are interpreted as doves, a popular subject in the Cyclades, featured in beads, pendants, pinheads and even vases or pyxis handles.
The "dove vase" is the largest and best-preserved example of a rare category of marble vessels at present known only from Keros and specifically the site of Kavos-Daskalio, where fragments of such vases have been found.
The presence of the row of birds exactly across the diameter of the bottom obviates a practical function of the vessel. It may have been used for ritual offerings, as some researchers have proposed; its possible provenance from Kavos-Daskalio on Keros corroborates such a view, since we know that at this site objects of symbolic significance were deposited and intentionally broken, most probably in the context of specific rituals.
PeriodEarly Bronze Age
DimensionsH: 5.1 cm / RD: 39 cm / BD: 41.5 cm
Exhbition Gallery1st floor / Cycladic Art
Participation in exhbitions
1978Ancient Greek Art, Benaki Museum, Athens
1979Cycladic Art, National Gallery, Washington
1980Ancient Greek Art, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
1981Ancient Greek Art, National Museum, Kyoto
1981Cycladic Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1982Art des Cyclades, Musees royaux, Bruxelles
1983Cycladic Art, British Museum, London
1983L'art des Cyclades, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris