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image M422

A Roman double funerary urn (cinerarium) and lid, carved with garlands held up by bukrania and dolphins at the lower front corners.

After Flavian period (see Sinn, p.60 cited below)

Pentelic marble

Height: 35cm
Height (excluding lid): 26cm
Width (lid): 52cm
Length (lid): 30cm

Museum number: M422

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 329help-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

Between double fillets two name plates with egg and tongue mouldings, beneath which hang garlands suspended from reversed dolphins curled about the corners and an ox scull between. The dolphins pursue fish; geese appear above the garlands, and a basket of fruit between. Two birds in the pediments between antefixae and a rosette coil in the centre.
Inscribed: Left: D M Right: CRISPINVS
Q·LICINIO·PR FILIVS·B·M·F
ICO·CL·IASONIS
CONIVX·ET·Q
LICINIVS

Altmann1 provides a general classification by ornamentation for the type of rectangular urn represented by this and the previous examples, but this urn presents a modified complication in having the outside ends of the garlands supported by dolphin's tails instead of ox skulls (bukrania). According to Fridericke Sinn garlands were held up by dolphins on urns since Flavian times2. There are two other dolphin cinerary urns in the Soane collection S139 (Vermeule 336) and M406 (V337).

1 W. Altmann, Dir römischen Grabaltäre der Kaiserzeit, Berlin, 1905, Chapter VI, 'Das Girland-und Bukranienmotiv'.
2 On dolphins and their meaning in Roman art, see A. Rumpf, 'Die Meerwesen auf den antiken Sarkophagreliefs', ASR V I , 1939, pp. 98f and Toynbee, Animals in Roman Life and Art, 1973, pp. 206 ff.

Provenance help-art-provenance

From Rome. Purchased by John Soane at Thomas Banks Sale, Christie's, 22 May 1805, £35.14s.0d.

Literature

Description of Sir John Soane's Museum, 1930, p.68, fig.37.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum VI, III, 21293 (and bibliography).


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk