Bird Ornament

Archaeological evidence shows that nearly 60,000 years ago, a group of people etched a number of repeating patterns on ostrich eggs, providing us with the first evidence of engraving as a sociocultural activity.  Since then, artists have taken this decorative method to new heights and have made their marks on gold, silver, bronze, and other metals.  By pushing a graver across these metals, engravers leave angled grooves on their pieces, such as the ones you see here, that form a wide variety of patterns--some decorative, some functional, but all indicative of the craftsmanship and steady hand needed to produce these works of art.

This finely detailed figurine is of a male rose-ringed parakeet, distinguished by the ring around his neck. A subspecies of these birds live in India, and are common as pets. The maker used engraving to add fine details such as eyes and feathers to the parakeet.