Terracotta larnax (chest-shaped coffin)

Period: Late Minoan IIIB

Date: mid-13th century B.C.

Culture: Minoan

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: Overall with lid 40 x 18 x 42 1/4 in. (101.6 x 45.7 x 107.3 cm)
H. of body 30 1/2 in. (77.5 cm)
H. of lid 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Anonymous Gift, in memory of Nicolas and Mireille Koutoulakis, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.521a, b


The larnax was the standard type of coffin in Crete from the early fourteenth century to the twelfth century B.C. The structure with recessed panels on each side suggests a wooden prototype, and recent scholarship has identified Egyptian chests as the probable models. The decoration on each side consists of geometric and vegetal ornaments well represented on contemporary pottery. The larnax stands at the beginning of an impressive series of large-scale funerary monuments in the Greek and Roman collection.