Cinerary Urn of Thana Heluśnei

Photogallery

Cinerary Urn of Thana Heluśnei
Cinerary Urn of Thana Heluśnei
Rooms X and XI. Hellenistic Age Urns

The deceased is depicted on the lid in a typological portrait, in the usual pose of the banqueter on the kline, with a flabellum in her hand. She wears a tunic, girded below the bust, and a cape; she is adorned with a pair of earrings with a truncated pyramid pendant, very widespread in the Hellenistic epoch.
The case depicts the duel of Eteocles and Polynices, a motif derived from a single model from the Hellenistic age, and constantly reproduced with few variants on these urns with a cast relief, fabricated in Chiusi. It is the tragic outcome of the dispute between the two brothers over the kingdom of Thebes, depicted at the moment they slay each other, thus fulfilling the curse their father Oedipus had sought in vain to avert. The funerary significance of the Greek mythological episode is underlined by the two female demons holding a flaming torch, who present themselves animatedly before the duellers. The urn is embellished with lively polychrome decoration with painted details integrated with the sculpted form.
The inscription painted on the casket refers to the woman on the lid: “Thana Heluśnei (married) Varna”. The family name Heluśnei is attested to in the territory of Chiusi, while that of her husband is known in Perugia as well as in Chiusi.