Marble anthropoid sarcophagus

Period: Classical

Date: last quarter of the 5th century B.C.

Culture: Graeco-Phoenician

Medium: Parian marble

Dimensions: L. 87 3/4in. (222.9cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76

Accession Number: 74.51.2452


The lid of this sarcophagus shows an unarticulated, downward tapering body and the head of a woman framed by flowing hair with traces of red paint. At the foot of the box and on the lid appears the Phoenician letter shin. According to recent investigations, anthropoid sarcophagi of marble were quarried on the Greek island of Paros, where they were prepared up to a certain point and then finished at their destinations, in this case, at Amathus. The inscribed letters on this sarcophagus strongly suggest that the sculptor was Phoenician, which would be entirely plausible at Amathus and at Kition, two centers of Phoenician occupation on Cyprus during the fifth century B.C.