Pottery bird

Accession Number
Current Location
House of Life (first floor), Games case
Object Type
Implements and utensils, Toy
Number of Elements
Height: 71mm | Width: 41mm | Depth: 121mm

This image may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. For uses not covered under the Creative Commons license, or to license images for commercial uses, please contact the Egypt Centre.


This roughly made pottery bird has its head is missing and there is a hole through the middle. It has a flat base and possible traces of incisions marking feathers. Pottery items like these have been found at numerous sites in Egypt and Nubia such as Amarna, Mirgissa, Lahun and Askut. Those found at Lahun and Mirgissa are dated to the Middle Kingdom (2025-1750 BCE). However, a very similar to pottery bird was found at Amarna (City of Akhenaten III page 142 36/155. Plate LXXXIX). Examples have also been found dating to the Roman Period including a wooden example from Hawara. It has been suggested that these pottery birds were used as children's toys, with sticks or pottery wheels being inserted into the hole to allow movement. Teeter (2010, 144) states that on Roman stelae toy birds were a symbol of innocence, and Török (1993, 53) states that clay toy birds were a popular children's toy throughout the ancient world. There is much evidence for the use of clay and mud to make toy animals, including crocodiles, hippopotami and monkeys.