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Roman Marble Sarcophagus Fragment

Ancient Rome, ca. 1st to 3rd century CE. A finely carved section of white marble, originally part of a sarcophagus, depicting a partial image of what appears to be festooning/puddling draperies. Roman sculptors were particularly skilled at capturing optical effects of light and shadow in order to attain greater realism and as time went on more impressionistic, abstract forms. This example, despite being a fragment, provides a window onto the style and technique of ancient Roman sculpture.

The word sarcophagus literally means "flesh-eater" in Greek. Sarcophagi were coffins used throughout the Roman Empire beginning in the second century CE when inhumation burials became more popular than cremation practices of the Republican and early Imperial periods. The rise in sarcophagi usage was inspired by earlier Etruscan and Greek models. This example came from a particularly luxurious sarcophagus as it was made from marble. Less elite examples were made from other stones, wood, and lead. A wonderful section of a marble sarcophagus intended for an elite individual of ancient Rome. Size: 3.25" L x 9" W x 5.75" H (8.3 cm x 22.9 cm x 14.6 cm)

Condition: Expected roughness around the edges and surface wear as shown, otherwise excellent.

Provenance: private New Jersey USA collection, acquired over twenty years ago

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