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Terracotta ash-urn with a lid in the form of a woman lying in bed

 

Height: 25.300 cm

Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight

GR 1879.6-24.1 (Terracotta B 629)

Room 71: Etruscan world

    Terracotta ash-urn with a lid in the form of a woman lying in bed

    Etruscan, about 510-490 BC
    From Cerveteri, Lazio, Italy

    Monument to a sleeping beauty

    This enchanting terracotta ash-urn from Cerveteri shows a deceased young woman lying in bed with her long locks of hair carefully arranged over the bedspread. Her head rests on a pillow with a draped bolster behind, and her feet, in fashionable boots with upturned toes, appear beneath the cover. The extravagant bed has elaborately moulded legs and friezes of animals down either side.

    This touching monument shows the deceased lying peacefully at rest. Later ash urns represent the dead person alert, as in life: the deceased is raised up on one elbow, reclining as at a banquet or clasping a mirror to view themselves.

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

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    On display: Room 71: Etruscan world

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