While doing some collection-fishing in the hopes of finding more artefacts belonging to John Holmes (on whom much more another time), I came across this fabulous model of a cockerel.
It is beautifully detailed and very characterful. The incised decoration gives the effect of feathers and shows the different textures of wing, body, neck, and plumed, curving tail. The detail in the head is wonderful, down to the nostrils in the downcurved beak and slight wattle below the throat. The design of the eye, a circle with a dot in the middle, gives it a staring, alert expression.
Its neck seems slightly extended and bent forwards as though about to peck something on the ground; all in all, it’s remarkably expressive for such a small object (3 in tall).
Its Cypriot credentials aren’t very clear; it’s not a typical Cypriot form, and looks to be quite late. It may possibly be Roman. It has a round, hollow base, which contains an intriguing clue to its provenance.
As well as various pencil numbers (of which the significance is unclear), it includes a neat monogram in ink, ‘CB’. This doesn’t fit any of the Cypriot collectors or donors I’ve come across so far. Who was ‘CB’, and where did they come by this cockerel? Time for another trawl through the records!