Painted sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa

Etruscan, about 150-140 BC
Found at Poggio Cantarello, near Chiusi, Tuscany, Italy

A wealthy Etruscan woman

The name of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa is inscribed on the chest. She is depicted reclining upon a mattress and pillow, holding an open lidded-mirror in her left hand and raising her right hand to adjust her cloak. She wears a chiton (tunic) with a high girdle, a purple-bordered cloak, and jewellery comprising a tiara, earrings, a necklace, bracelets and finger-rings.

Scientific testing of the woman's teeth indicates that she was probably about 50 to 55 years old at the time of her death. The rather youthful portrait is typical of the idealized representation found in the Hellenistic period of Etruscan art, when it was heavily influenced by the international culture of the Greek world. A reconstruction has been made of Seianti's head.

The Etruscans practised both cremation and inhumation (burial), but inhumation remained the traditional funerary rite in the south. The Romans adopted many features of Etruscan culture, and their early sarcophagi and cinerary urns (containers for cremated remains) show strong Etruscan influence.

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Painted sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa

Painted sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa


More information


J. Prag and R. Neave, Making faces: using forensic a (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

O. Brendel, Etruscan art, Pelican History of Art (Yale University Press, 1995)

E. Macnamara, Everyday life of the Etruscans (Barsford/Putnams, 1973)

E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)


Length: 1.830 m

Museum number

GR 1887.4-2.1 (Terracotta D 786)



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