Bronze cinerary urn with lid

Period: Archaic

Date: ca. 500 B.C.

Culture: Etruscan, Campanian

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 19 1/16 in. (48.5 cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1940

Accession Number: 40.11.3a, b


Large hammered-bronze urns, often with solid-cast figures on the lid, were frequently used for cremated remains in Etruscan dominated Campania. Several examples have been found at Capua, that region's major city, and they were likely produced there from the late sixth to the mid-fifth century B.C. The statuettes added to the lid of this elaborately incised urn show a large nude diskos thrower surrounded by four Scythian archers mounted on rearing horses.
On the underside of the urn a two-letter inscription is engraved on the attached foot ring. It comprises two Etruscan characters: a khi (which looks like a V with a line in the center), and a V. These two characters probably indicate the number 55. The khi is in a late Etruscan letter form that is appropriate for the urn's date. The significance of the numeral remains unclear.