Italo-Geometric Bird Askos (Oil Vessel): Hunter (Herakles?) and Stag

c. 700 BCE

attributed to Bisenzio Class

Overall: 33.5 x 15.5 cm (13 3/16 x 6 1/8 in.); Diameter of foot: 11.9 cm (4 11/16 in.)
Location: 102D Pre-Roman
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

This askos may feature the earliest known representation of Herakles's third labor, the Keryneian hind.


This bird-shaped askos (oil vessel), with a tall filling spout and a pierced beak for pouring, perhaps held perfumed oil for a funerary function. Although the shape likely stems from Italian tradition, the abundantly painted geometric decoration, covering nearly every available surface, derives originally from Greece. Thus scholars have suggested that an immigrant Greek potter working in Etruria may have made the vessel. The sole narrative scene shows a man with a spear leading an antlered animal. If not an anonymous hunter, this could be the earliest known representation of the hero Herakles performing his third labor: capturing the golden-antlered Keryneian hind, or female deer.
Italo-Geometric Bird Askos (Oil Vessel): Hunter (Herakles?) and Stag

Italo-Geometric Bird Askos (Oil Vessel): Hunter (Herakles?) and Stag

c. 700 BCE

Bisenzio Class

Etruscan, likely made at Vulci

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.