Sarcophagus and lid with husband and wife

Italic, Etruscan
Late Classical or Early Hellenistic Period
350–300 B.C.


Findspot: Italy, Lazio, Vulci

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 383; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 116 (additional published references).

Dimensions

Height x width x length: 93.3 x 117.4 x 213.8 cm (36 3/4 x 46 1/4 x 84 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

86.145a-b

Medium or Technique

Travertine

On View

Greek Archaic Gallery (Gallery 113)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Shawabties and shawabty boxes

The top of the cover takes the form of a bed with pillows, and a man and his wife embrace under a large sheet. She wears a complex earring and he a bracelet of twisted strands. There is no costume visible.

On the long side below the man is a frieze with four pairs of Greeks and Amazons in combat. A bead-and-reel molding appears above, and simple pilasters frame the scenes on the corners. The other side, the long panel below the woman, has only a plain fillet molding above, suggesting it was the back of the sarcophagus proper. The frieze features two pairs of horsemen and foot soldiers in combat, with a warrior in fighting pose on foot in the center.

On the left end (facing the frieze with Greeks and Amazons), two lions bring down a bull. The bead-and-reel molding is seen above. On the right end, two griffins are tearing into a fallen horse.

The condition is, generally speaking, excellent, with some traces of a dark brown deposit and an overall light brown to yellow patina.

The sarcophagus is inscribed for Thanchvil Tarnai and her husband Larth Tetnies, son of Arnth Tetnies and Ramtha Vishnai.

Provenance

By 1845/46: according to Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, p. 472, this sarcophagus and MFA 1975.799 were found at Vulci in the winter of 1845 to 1846 and taken to Musignano; Princess of Canino Collection at Musignano; by unknown date: James Jackson Jarves Collection (according to a catalogue of the exhibition of his collection in 1883, the two sarcophagi were found in the winter of 1842-1843 on the banks of the river Fiora near Vulci); purchased by MFA, 1886

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Mrs. Gardner Brewer and by contribution and the Benjamin Pierce Cheney Donation