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Cinerary Box with Cover: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This cinerary urn resembles a small building with pitched roof. The inscription attests that it contained the ashes of a man and a woman, possibly husband and wife, who were freed slaves:

To the divine shades of D(ecimus) Aemilius Chius and Hortensia Phebe

The ornamentation combines symbols related to death and resurrection. The garlands and fruit indicate regeneration and eternal life; the winged harpies on the front corners are fantastic creatures thought to carry off the souls of the dead; the eagles on the back corners represent man's spiritual ability to soar heavenwards. The central gorgon's head serves to ward off evil influence. The back is not decorated, as the urn would have been places in a niche inside a tomb.

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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009