Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bronze cista (toiletries box)

Late Classical
ca. 350–325 B.C.
H. 23 in. (58.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Courtland Field Bishop, 1922
Accession Number:
22.84.1a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 170
This is the largest and finest of the Museum's engraved cistae. The cylindrical body is decorated with three friezes, an unusual treatment. On the major frieze is a series of episodes from the Trojan War told in Homer's Iliad, including what seems to be the sacrifice of the Trojan prisoners. The minor friezes, above and below, depict battle scenes and chariot races but also include unrelated subjects, for example griffins attacking a horse. The chariot race continues on the solid-cast lion-paw feet. The poorly preserved engravings on the lid probably depict winged nereids riding on dolphins and sea monsters while carrying the armor of Achilles, the major Greek hero of the Trojan War. The handle, one of the finest of this type, shows two nude winged genii carrying the body of a dead soldier. The treatment of wing feathers and hair is especially delicate.
Richter, Gisela M. A. 1940. Handbook of the Etruscan Collection. p. 51, fig. 155, New York: Marchbanks Press.

McCann, Anna Marguerite. 1978. Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 18, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Foerst, Gabriele. 1978. Die Gravierungen der pränestinischen Cisten. no. 41, pp. 147-48, pls. 31d, 32a-c, Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider Editore.

Bordenache Battaglia, Gabrielle and Prof. Adriana Emiliozzi. 1979. Le Ciste prenestine. no. 42, pp. 141-43, pls. 172-78B, Rome: Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche.

Cristofani, Mauro. 1985. I Bronzi degli Etruschi. p. 34, Novara.

Boosen, Monika. 1986. Etruskische Meeresmischwesen: Untersuchungen zu Typologie und Bedeutung. no. 6/5, pp. 164-65, Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider Editore.

Jurgeit, Fritzi, Gabrielle Bordenache Battaglia, Prof. Adriana Emiliozzi, and Felice Coppola. 1986. "Cistenfüsse: etruskische und praenestiner Bronzewerkstätten." Le Ciste prenestine: Studi e contribuiti. no. K40, pp. 71-72, pl. 41e, Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider Editore.

Kossatz-Deissmann, Anneliese, Brigitte Servais-Soyez, Fulvio Canciani, Giovannangelo Camporeale, Hans Peter Isler, Ingrid Krauskopf, Odette Touchefeu-Meynier, Marcel Le Glay, and Dr. Jean-Charles Balty. 1992. Kentauroi-Oiax, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Vol. 6. Nereides, no. 362c, Zürich: Artemis Verlag Zurich und Munchen.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 368, pp. 310, 476, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

de Puma, Richard Daniel. 2013. Etruscan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. no. 6.41, pp. 191, 201–3, 207, New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Objects

Pair of bronze cista (toiletries box) feet with panthers attacking cranes

Date: ca. 350–300 B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 1988.113.1, .2 On view in:Gallery 171

Bronze cista (toiletries box)

Date: ca. 300–275 B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 22.84.3a, b On view in:Gallery 170

Bronze cista (toiletries box)

Date: ca. 325–275 B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 22.84.2a, b On view in:Gallery 170

Bronze handle from a cista (toiletries box)

Date: 4th century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 19.193 On view in:Gallery 170

Bronze handle from a cista (toiletry box)

Date: 4th century B.C. Medium: Bronze Accession: 09.221.11 On view in:Gallery 170