Deaccessioned September 24, 2015

Sarcophagus fragment: resting geographical personification

Roman Imperial Period
middle or latter part of the 3rd century A.D.

Catalogue Raisonné

Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 265.


14 x 13 cm (5 1/2 x 5 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Stone; Crystalline marble, probably from northwest Asia Minor


The Ancient World


Coffins and sarcophagi

The fragment is broken on all edges, but the surface of the figure is fairly fresh, with a yellowish patina. The drill holes around the head and on the face are unusually prominent..
The young man wears a petasos or traveler’s cap, like that of Hermes, and reclines with his right arm behind his head in the convention of divine, mythological, or geographical persons in repose. He appears to hold a pastoral staff, a shepherd’s crook, or a rustic reed in his left hand. Extensive use of a deep, round drill indicates that this fragment comes from a sarcophagus made toward the middle or latter part of the third century A.D., the last phases of the manufacture of sarcophagi with purely pagan myths or scenes. Figures such as this are usually seen in the upper or lower backgrounds of sarcophagus reliefs, where larger figures act out the major elements of the mythological drama.


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