Unusual Bronze Bird-Like Askos

Bird-like Askos

An extremely rare bronze, bird-like askos forms part of Vassil Bojkov’s unique collection of artefacts. It is thought to have been influenced by Thracian, Anatolian, Greek, and other cultures. The entire object is covered by dark, olive green patina with several reddish-brown spots. The exact origin of the askos is unfortunately unknown.

Askos ornaments and details

Askos ornaments and details

Despite the fact that the exact origin of Vasil Bojkov’s bird-askos cannot be pinpointed, there are some elements that are really crucial for the dating and the localization of this particular vase. Precisely, its mouth, handle, and attachment. The handle of the askos has three distinct components that create a near-circular section. They are positioned one next to another and form a band. It is discovered and observed that handles of this type appear on many Ibero-Phoenician oinochoae made of bronze and silver.

Some scholars have dated them as far back as the second quarter of the 8th century BC. Another resemblance between these artefacts and the Bojkov vase is the Phoenician palmette element we see on the photo. Palmette decorations of this sort can be also seen on Phoenician miniature ivory oinochoae and on their Samian imitations. Such similarities leave no doubts about the common origins of the bird-askos in the Vassil Bojkov Collection and the rest of the objects mentioned above.

As well, the common features that hint towards the East-Phoenicial origin of the bird-like askos do not end here. Aside from the engraved palmette, there is the one-piece casting technique used, in addition to the rim profile of the artefact. In his book Metal Vases & Utensils in the Vassil Bojkov Collection, vol. Athanasios Siderislooks at this particular piece in greater detail and points out that “It was probably one of those vases that inspired later, in the 6th century BC, the production of siren-askoi in Laconia and Etruria.”

The bird-like askos dates back to the 630-600 BC.

About the author Iliyana Ivanova is a journalist and historian born in Bulgaria but currently based in London, UK. She has studied at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and graduated from the Faculty of History with a BA in Archeology and MA in Ancient History and Thracian Studies. Throughout the years, Iliyana has organized various cultural and historical events back in Bulgaria with the idea to reveal little-known-information about the ancient world of Thrace. She continues her practice in the UK as well with the main goal to promote the history and ancient treasures of Bulgaria. Currently, her main focus is one of the most fascinating private collections of Thracian artefacts – that of the philanthropist and collector Vasil Bojkov. Her personal blog contains articles about the pieces owned by Vasil Bojkov, their meaning to her country and the world, his personal life, and all the deeds, charity events, and exhibitions initiated by him.

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