Painted limestone funerary slab with a man controlling a rearing horse

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 2nd half of 3rd century B.C.

Culture: Greek

Medium: Limestone, paint

Dimensions: Height: 15 1/2 × 10 1/2 × 2 7/8 in. (39.4 × 26.7 × 7.3 cm)

Classification: Miscellaneous-Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Darius Ogden Mills, 1904

Accession Number: 04.17.3

Description

During the Ptolemaic period a distinctive type of subterranean tomb for multiple burials proliferated in the cemeteries around the city of Alexandria. Underground chambers cut into the living rock radiated from a central courtyard open to the sky. Most chambers contained a number of loculi, long narrow niches cut into the walls, which served as burial slots. Some loculi were sealed with painted limestone slabs in the form of small shrines. Here, a lively depiction of a man trying to bridle a horse, while a boy stands behind him, commemorates a man from Thessaly in Northern Greece, who must have been one of the many foreigners who congregated in the wealthy, cosmopolitan Ptolemaic capital.

Related