Height: 26.700 cm
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
The Muse Casket
Late Roman, 4th century
A domed silver casket from the Esquiline treasure
This unusual casket from the Esquiline treasure was probably made at the same time and in the same workshop as the Projecta Casket. It most probably also belonged to the same woman, Projecta. The casket was designed to be suspended from chains and was fitted out inside to hold five small silver bottles for perfumes and unguents.
panels around the scalloped body of the casket bear
Representations on Roman mosaics and wall paintings suggest that caskets of this form were made specifically for use in the bath. Ancient Romans valued the health-giving and restorative powers of the bath highly, and the inhabited vine scrolls emerging from kantheroi (two-handled drinking cups) on the body and lid of the casket evoke a delightful, paradisaical atmosphere.
A. Cameron, 'The date and owners of the Esquiline Treasure: the nature of the evidence', American Journal of Archaeolog, 89 (1985)
K. Shelton, The Esquiline treasure (London, The British Museum Press, 1981)