Funerary monument with Adonis dying
Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRooms X and XI

Funerary monument with Adonis dying

Tuscany
late 3rd cent. BC
polychrome terra-cotta
height max cm 62.0; length cm 89.0; width cm 40.5
cat. 14147

The famous monument was found in 1834 during excavations carried out by the Campanari brothers. It shows the mythical youth as a hunter lying on a bed, mortally wounded. The moving scene is rendered with great care, both because it provides some links with the final act of the deceased, and because it was a favourite among the many themes of the Greek myth which from the 4th century onwards are present in the Etruscan idea of the afterworld. Often mistakenly indicated as a cinerary urn, it is actually complete in itself, without any cavities suitable for containing ashes. Inside it are intersecting terra-cotta partitions with a structural function. The holes that can be seen on the surface guaranteed the homogeneous areation of the clay during its drying and firing. It is quite likely that it belonged on top of the casket of a cinerary urn.