Help us bring life to art, and art to lives. Make a donation.

Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Marble fragment of a cinerary urn

Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian
1st half of 1st century A.D.
Indurated limestone or fine-grained marble
H. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm); width 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm); depth 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
Stone Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Ariel Herrmann, 2002
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 166
The fragment is part of the cinerary urn, 2002.297, and has been reattached to the side.

This Roman cinerary urn is highly unusual in having the spoils of war as its principal theme. Despite the fragmentary nature of the piece, the trophies and piles of weapons and armor that cover the back and sides of the rectilinear box are very striking in both detail and composition. The panels are representative of high-quality workmanship, suggesting that the work was a special commission. Sadly, much of the front, where the inscription recording the name of the deceased would have been, is missing. The urn is said to have been excavated from a tomb near Anagni, southeast of Rome, in 1899. Other marble funerary urns in the Museum's collection belong to much more common types of funerary art, cinerary urns that either resemble actual receptacles (vases or baskets) or are in the form of altars or miniature buildings. In both iconography and craftsmanship, the present urn foreshadows the elaborate sarcophagi of the Mid-Imperial period.
Excavated from a tomb in Anagni, on the grounds of the Villa Magna (on the property of Pietro Balestra) southeast of Rome, in 1899

Lovatelli, Ersilia Caetani Contessa. 1900. "Urna marmorea con rappresentanze di trofei." Bullettino della Commissione archeologica comunale di Roma, 28: pp. 242–65, figs. 1–3, pls. 14–15.

Milleker, Elizabeth J., Christopher S. Lightfoot, and Seán Hemingway. 2003. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 2002–2003: Ancient World." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 61(2): p. 8.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2003. "One Hundred Thirty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 133: p. 23.

Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 438, pp. 376, 491, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Related Objects

Marble cinerary urn

Date: 1st half of 1st century A.D. Medium: Marble Accession: 2002.297 On view in:Gallery 166

Marble head of a Hellenistic ruler

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D. Medium: Marble Accession: 03.12.8b On view in:Gallery 160

Marble head of a Greek general

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D. Medium: Marble, Pentelic ? Accession: 24.97.32 On view in:Gallery 160

Marble head of an athlete

Date: ca. A.D. 138–192 Medium: Marble Accession: 11.210.2 On view in:Gallery 153

Marble portrait of the emperor Caracalla

Date: A.D. 212–217 Medium: Marble Accession: 40.11.1a On view in:Gallery 169