Sarcophagus fragment: galloping horses

Imperial Period
first quarter of 3rd century A.D.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 264; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 113 (additional published references).


Height: 30 cm (11 13/16 in.); width: 23 cm ( 9 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone, pentelic marble

Not On View


The Ancient World


Coffins and sarcophagi

The fragment is of an irregular, “diamond” shape. What remains of the surfaces is in fairly good condition.
The poses of the horses suggest a scene of rapid motion in a chariot, perhaps the abduction of Persephone to the underworld. A large sarcophagus with chariot-race of Erotes in the Circus Maximus offers a likely scene, although it is somewhat unusual to have one of the horse’s heads turned rearward. The full, unquadrated gallop is a special feature of Persephone sarcophagi.
The date of this fragment ought to be in the first quarter of the third century A.D.


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