Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble anthropoid sarcophagus

last quarter of the 5th century B.C.
Parian marble
L. 87 3/4in. (222.9cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 174
The lid of the sarcophagus shows an unarticulated, downward tapering body and the head of a woman framed by flowing hair; traces of red paint are still preserved in the hair. At the foot end of the box and on the lid appears the Phoenician letter "shin." According to recent investigations, the anthropoid sarcophagi of marble were quarried on the Greek island of Paros. They were prepared up to a certain point and finished at their destinations. The inscribed letters here strongly suggest that the sculptor was Phoenician, which would be entirely plausible at Amathus and Kition, two centers of Phoenician occupation on Cyprus. Such fine, expensive coffins inspired local copies in limestone and terracotta.
Inscription: Phoenician letter "shin" on lid and on coffin
From the necropolis of Amathus

Cesnola, Luigi Palma di. 1877. Cyprus: Its Ancient Cities, Tombs, and Temples. A Narrative of Researches and Excavations During Ten Years' Residence in That Island. pp. 288–90, London: John Murray.

Cesnola, Luigi Palma di. 1885. A Descriptive Atlas of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriote Antiquities in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Vol. 1. pl. XCI.590, Boston: James R. Osgood and Company.

Myres, John L. 1914. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. no. 1366, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Teixidor, Javier. 1976. "The Phoenician Inscriptions of the Cesnola Collection." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 11: no. 28, p. 68 .

McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropoltian Museum of Art. pp. 17-8, fig. 4, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lipinski, Edward. 1992. Dictionnaire de la civilisation phénicienne et punique pp. 391-92, fig. 282, Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

Lightfoot, Christopher S. 2000. "The New Cypriot Galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Minerva, 11(3): p. 18, fig. 1.

Frede, Simone. 2000. Die Phönizischen Anthropoiden Sarkophage. no. X.2, pp. 136–37, pls. 117.b–118, Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern.

Karageorghis, Vassos, Joan Mertens, and Marice E. Rose. 2000. Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 360, pp. 226-7, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 295, pp. 254, 465, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hermary, Antoine and Joan R. Mertens. 2013. The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture. no. 496, pp. 374–75, Online Publication, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hermary, Antoine. 2015. "Un nouveau bilan sur les sarcophages anthropoïdes de Chypre." ΠΟΛΥΜΑΘΕΙΑ: Festschrift für Hartmut Matthäus anläßlich seines 65. Geburtstages, Stefanie Nawracala and Robert Nawracala, eds. p. 211, no. 9.

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