Cinerary Urn of Plautia Hesperis

A work made of marble.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of marble.

Date:

1st century AD

Artist:

Roman

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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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Cinerary Urn of Plautia Hesperis

Origin

Italy

Date

1 AD–100 AD

Medium

Marble

Inscriptions

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

Dimensions

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

1923.969a-b

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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