March 2018

Terracotta wheel with five birds - Iynx

Similar wheels were used as votive offerings from the early geometric times to the late antiquity.

They were associated with sorcery often in order to bring back unfaithful lovers. By extension, they could also function as apotropaic objects.

The bird on the wheel is the Iynx (Jynx torquilla), the Eurasian wryneck in the woodpecker family. To attract a match the bird rotates the neck for an entire circle and sings with a voice that sounds like the flute. In mythology, Iynx was a Nymph, a daughter of the god Pan and either Peitho or Echo. Hera turned her into a bird to panish her for casting a spell on Zeus which made him fall in love with Io. Sorceresses used the bird tied on spinning wheel while casting a love spell.

Over time, the bird ceased to be used, and the word Iynx now declared the magical wheel, as it is depicted in vases in the hands of the Erotes or even the lovers themselves. Such wheels, sometimes made of metal, have been depicted hanging on trees, along with other sound-producing objects, such as cymbals.

Iynx was also a toy in the form of a wooden wheel with two holes in the center, through which two threads were passed. Τhe alternating pulling of the threads and twisting of the wheel produced a distinctive sound, echoing the voice of the bird Iynx.

Dating: 350-300 BC
Origin: From the cemetery of ancient Akanthos (Ierissos), Chalkidiki

You can see the exhibit at the temporary exhibition Figurines. A microcosm of clay, showcase 11