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Cinerary Urn of Plautia Hesperis

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.


1st century



About this artwork

Prior to A.D. 100, the Romans typically cremated their dead and placed the ashes and remaining bones in urns and ossuaries (containers used to hold skeletal remains). The front of this urn is adorned with heart-shaped ivy leaves and an inscription that identifies the deceased, a young woman named Plautia Hesperis. Much like modern headstones, the inscription indicates the length of her life (“Lived 16 years”). The lid is adorned with simple rosettes at the corners, while an eagle, thought by the Romans to carry the deceased’s soul into the realm of the gods, is perched at its center.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Roman


Cinerary Urn of Plautia Hesperis


Italy (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1 CE–100 CE




PLAVTIA HESPERIS / VIXIT AN[NOS] XVI ("Plautia Hesperis, lived sixteen years")


a (urn): 18.7 × 33.3 × 31.4 cm (7 3/8 × 13 1/8 × 13 3/8 in) b (lid): 6.9 × 33.6 × 32 cm (2 ¾ 13 ¼ 15 5/8 in)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. George A. Thorne

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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