Terracotta sarcophagus rim

Period: Archaic

Date: last quarter of the 6th century B.C.

Culture: East Greek, Clazomenian

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/2 x 36 1/2 x 84 in. (19.1 x 92.7 x 213.4 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1921

Accession Number: 21.169.1


A significant number of terracotta sarcophagi with a decorated upper rim have been found at Klazomenai and at Old Smyrna, East Greek sites on the west coast of Asia Minor; given their size and weight, it is assumed that they were manufactured locally. Before the funeral, the sarcophagus was apparently buried up to the height of the upper rim. After the deceased was laid inside during the funeral ceremony, a stone lid was placed over the sarcophagus and earth was piled up to mark the grave site.
On this example, the upper zone of the lid is decorated with a battle scene. Four foot soldiers clash over a fallen warrior, while a winged figure and a chariot approach from either side. Details on the figures were originally indicated in white. On the sides of the rim stand a centaur and a siren; below, two lions attack a boar.