Stele with funerary banquet

Greek
Late Hellenistic
about 2nd–1st century B.C.


Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 277.

Dimensions

Height x width: 49.7 x 35.5 cm (19 9/16 x 14 in.)

Accession Number

69.1095

Medium or Technique

Marble, very crystalline

Not On View

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Sculpture

The Greek inscription above the rectangular area of the inset relief and below the pedimental form of the top edge appears to read (add Greek) (the last two letters on a separate line below). “Mama, (wife or daughter) of Apphous, Apphous son of Euphronios.”
A woman sits at the left, her left hand raised to her cheek or veil in an attitude of meditation. On the right a man reclines on the couch, a wreath held in his raised right hand, a cup in his left. In front of and below him, a three-legged table has funeral cakes on it. At the lower left of the inset-relief area, a small servant girl stands in an attitude which echoes that of her mistress. In the right corner stands a servant boy. This lad also repeats the gesture, but he seems more bored, his legs being crossed and his gaze directed off into space.
There are a few minor modern dents, notably one (of the gardener’s pick) at the upper left; the surfaces have a yellow patina.
The name Mama suggests her family might have come from south-central to southeast Asia Minor, where it is fairly common, ultimately achieving greatest fame in Saint Mamas, a Pisidian-Cilician warrior-saint who is now worshipped chiefly at Morphou in northwest Cyprus. One of the other stelei of this group of six shows “Euphronios, son of Neikon,” standing in a niche. He could have been the father referred to in the Landau relief. The man on the couch, Apphous, does not look very old, of early middle age at the most, but this may be partly a result of the timeless primitivism or provincialism of these reliefs. They follow good traditional models, but they also exude considerable rustic vigor.

Inscription

ΜΑΜΑ ΑΠΦΟΥ ΑΠΦΟΥΣ ΕΥΦΡΟΝΙ
ΟΥ (the last two letters on a separate line below)

Provenance

By date unknown: said to be from Istanbul and evidently to have been found in the Graeco-Roman necropolis near the Hippodrome; date unknown before 1969: Mrs. Edgar J. Fisher and Edgar J. Fisher, Jr. Collection, Richmond, Virginia; by 1969: Dr. David Landau Collection; gift of Dr. David Landau to MFA, September 23, 1969

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. David Landau