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The Heron class plates represent the convergence of Phoenician and Greek influences: taking inspiration from imported pottery, these potters combined outside influences of both shape and decoration with this distinctive bird motif which also has its roots in earlier Etruscan art.
These were made in the area around Caere, including Veii and Latium and particularly Cerveteri where the majority of the heron plates have come from though others have been found more inland.
The pottery was very popular and exported not only within Etruria but also to areas in Lazio and Sicily.
Richard Daniel De Puma in Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum quoting G Colonna in "Nomi etruschi di vasi" (ArchCl 25-26, 1973-1974, 132-150) mentions that the Etruscan name for these plates is known (spanti), from inscriptions on a few examples and that some scholars believe that this refers to a special ritual in which they were used.
The band of these stylized birds, decorates the underside of this type of plate. The top of the plates carry concentric bands. The base is usually decorated with crossing stripes.
The majority of the plates have a pair of pierced holes: would appear that these would have been so that the plate could be suspended.
The shape of the plate appears to be an adaptation of Phoenician Red Slip plates, also decorated with concentric circles, which were also imported to Italy. So these Etruscan potters created a new class of pottery by merging a Phoenician shape with a Greek decorative style and an earlier Late Geometric Etruscan motif.
Here is another, on the left below, which was sold on eBay quite honestly as a reproduction
Well, one is not likely to believe it to be genuinely ancient. It is even from this small photograph fairly obviously a tourist souvenir.
What of this pair of very similar plates below? So similar that one needs to look carefully to see that they are not the same plate.
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