A Canosan Terracotta Boar, ca. 4th century BCE
Object No: GT2101
This charming boar figurine featuring an upturned snout, protruding ears, and a dorsal ridge portraying a mane, with only a hint of the lower body depicted above the rectangular base.
Pigs have a long history of involvement in Greek mythology and ritual. Associated with Demeter due to "the fast-growing body of the pig [which would] have been compared to corn growing and ripening" (Marija Gimbutas, The Goddess and Gods of Old Europe), pigs were often sacrificed at annual rituals such as the Eleusinian Mysteries and the festival of Thesmophoria to celebrate the goddess and the harvest. In later mythology, the role of the boar shifted to that of the antagonist; the Calydonian Boar and the Erymanthian Boar are two such examples who were depicted as mindless rampaging beasts in need of slaying.
Representations of boars mostly took the form of small terracotta figurines, used as sacrificial or votive objects in temples dedicated to Demeter, as funerary objects, and as children's toys. Workshops in Rhodes, Attica, and Boeotia were the major centers of production for these figurines.
Dimensions: Length: 9.5 cm (3.7 inches)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition, with traces of original polychrome remaining.
Provenance: Private English collection, Kent, UK, acquired in the 1990s.
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