Hunting sarcophagus fragment

about A.D. 250

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 268; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 113 (additional published references).


24 x 32 cm (9 7/16 x 12 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Greek island marble

Not On View


The Ancient World


Coffins and sarcophagi

The upper, fillet molding and the pilaster at the left are preserved; the right end has been cut or broken off, and the bottom is in a similar condition, the break being somewhat less irregular. The sculptured surfaces are in a fairly good state, with a yellowish gray patina.
Within an architectural enframement, a hunter on horseback flees to the left, pursued by a lion; part of another horse with a hunter is visible at the right. The sarcophagus was relatively small. The scene has the spirited attractiveness of secondary Roman imperial work in the generations from about 240 to 300. The drill points and surface polish appear as cursory stabs and impressions, successful in conveying lively movement in an arrested architectural setting. There is none of the crudity or facial barbarism of many late Tetrarch or Constantinian minor reliefs, and therefore a date of about 250 for this fragment seems likely.


1876, gift of Charles Callahan Perkins (b. 1823 - d. 1886), Boston, to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 1, 1876)

Credit Line

Gift of Charles C. Perkins