Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRooms X and XI

Cinerary urn of the "Master of Oenomaus", early 2nd cent. BC, cat. 13887

Monument with Adonis dying, late 3rd cent. BC, cat. 14147

Virtual Visit of Room X

Virtual Visit of Room XI

The rite of cremation, with the resulting funerary custom of placing the ashes of the deceased in urns in sculpted stone or modelled in terra-cotta, is particularly documented in the interior of northern Etruria from the 4th century BC. A great quantity of cinerary urns, with particular artistic and typological characteristics was produced in the main Etruscan cities of this vast area (Volterra, Chiusi and Perugia). The reliefs that decorate the front of the casks are the result of an independent development of the Hellenistic figurative repertoire. Greek myths and, more typically, Etruscan myths co-exist, united by the adoption of the same figurative language, in one of the most characteristic manifestations of Etruscan artistic craftwork. The urns were sculpted from the natural stone of the area which was alabaster for Volterra and Chiusi, and travertine for Perugia, but there were also some less valuable stones. The surfaces were originally characterized by a bright polychromy of which only a few traces remain. Ideally the deceased was portrayed on the lid of the urn, semi-recumbent in the classical position of a banqueter, while mythological scenes or scenes related to the afterworld were sculpted on the casket. The main productions of Etruscan urns are present in the Gregorian Etruscan Museum.