Vase in the form of a pomegranate

ca. 750–735 BCEterracotta1/16 in. × 1/16 in. (0.1 cm. × 0.09 cm.)

Gift of Edward Perry Warren, Esq., Honorary Degree 1926


This terracotta work is indicative of the Geometric period of Attic vase painting, characterized by distinct registers filled with linear and geometric ornamentation. Although the precise function of this pomegranate-shaped vase remains unknown, one theory is that it operated in a funerary context. Pomegranates are frequently encountered in works from the ancient world and were associated with fertility and perceived to have certain apotropaic functions. Terracotta pomegranates like as this one were filled with several pebbles and sealed, creating a noisemaker. Given that many of these terracotta pomegranates were excavated from the tombs of children, it has been suggested that these objects could have been used in burial processions or crafted as rattles intended to rest with the deceased. 

The pomegranate has been divided into four horizontal registers, each occupied by different decorative elements. The most complex band is divided into individual cells created by borders of diagonal cross-hatched columns framed on both sides by two vertical lines. Occupying the center are decorated diamond and cross shapes. The uppermost register is filled with schematic renderings of seven birds, perhaps ducks or herons, and introduces a nature-centric element to the largely linear decorative scheme. 

Edward Perry Warren’s intentionality in donating several vessels that are representative of the Geometric period contributes to a cohesive understanding of the development of vase painting and encourages the development of visual literacy skills.

—Brooke Wrubel


Before 1915, collection of Edward Perry Warren; 1915, gifted to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art by Edward Perry Warren.

Edward Perry Warren

A testament to his impact as an influential twentieth-century American antiquities collector, Edward Perry Warren’s (1860–1928, H ’26) name is linked to hundreds of ancient objects housed in institutions across the United States, including more than five hundred works at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art alone.

Region: Greece See all 24
Map of Mediterranean Sea with Greece highlighted.