Marble lid of a cinerary chest

Period: Early Imperial

Date: late 1st century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: Overall: 6 5/8 x 19 1/2 x 16 1/4 in. (16.8 x 49.5 x 41.3 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Michael Finkelstein and Sue-ann Friedman Gift,1997

Accession Number: 1997.271


The lid is fashioned to look like the roof of a barrel-vaulted building with acroteria at the corners in the form of theatrical masks and palmettes. The front panel is inscribed in Latin: “To the spirits of the dead, [of] Sextus Flavius Pancarpus, who lived 67 years.” Despite the fact that the inscription mentions only a man, the lunettes at the sides show both male (globe and box of scrolls) and female (mirror and spindle) attributes, indicating that the chest also may have contained the remains of Pancarpus’ wife.