Vignaccia Temple Terracotta Bird Figurine

Bird figurine found at the Vignaccia Temple, Caere (Modern-day Cerveteri), Central Italy from the Middle Etruscan Period (480–325 BC). 8-2386

This bird figurine was part of a deposit discovered next to the Vignaccia temple, along with some 800 additional terracotta votives including other animals as well as heads and figurines. Because many of the heads and figurines are female, it is believed that the Vignaccia temple was most likely dedicated to a female deity, and, as the immense collection demonstrates, was a popular site of Etruscan worship. The bird votive may be connected to female worship  as eggs were an important symbol of fertility, rebirth and possibly immortality. Terracotta was widely used in Etruria, and depictions of birds were frequent. They are included in the Tomb of the Hunting and Fishing as a multicolor flock flying above fishermen and in the Tomba Degli Auguri where two Augurs read them as part of Etruscan religious divination practice. Many facets of Roman religion, in fact, were based on Etruscan religious practice.


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