Lidded box (cista)
Unknown artist, Etruscan
Lidded box (cista), late 4th - mid 3rd century BCE
Height: 29.5 cm (11 5/8 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 06.014
Scenes on Praenestine cistae are not always easy to decipher. The veiled woman at the center of the composition could be variously interpreted as a bride preparing for her wedding, as a woman about to be initiated into the cult of the god Dionysos (suggested by the woman to her right, who carries a staff topped by a pine cone), and finally s a deceased woman about to embark on the journey to the underworld. The presence of the messenger god Hermes, seen from behind wearing a winged hat and holding the herald’s staff, supports the last interpretation. Hermes is waiting to escort the veiled woman to her groom, the god Hades, who stands beneath the columns on the eft. Hermes is depicted in his role of guide of the dead to the underworld (psychopompos). It is therefore likely that this elaborately carved cosmetic box was unerary gift for a deceased woman.
Edited ByWoolsey, Ann, ed.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
TypeMonographs and CollectionsClassical Bronzes
Contributions byMitten, David Gordon
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design., 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections