Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World

Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA


Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings

The tradition of crafting animal-shaped vessels is shared across ancient civilisations from the Mediterranean to South America. This cross-cultural exhibition presents 75 of these objects, which together bear witness to festivities and ceremonies of which most details are otherwise lost to us. It explores the symbolism involved in ancient feasts from Greece to China, and emphasises the essential role of food and drink in ancient cultures. Find out more from the Harvard Art Museums website.

Preview the exhibition below | See Apollo’s Picks of the Week here

Vessel in the form of a hump-backed bull (1350–1000 BC), Iran. Photo: © Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

Boar head mug (4th century BC), southern Italy. Photo: © Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Stag-Shaped Drinking Horn (1st century BC–1st century AD), Parthian. Photo: courtesy the Getty’s Open Content Program

Double-vessel monkey (14th-15th century), Chimú, Peru

Double-vessel monkey (14th-15th century), Chimú, Peru.

Event website