An Exemplary & Earliest Etruscan Cinerary Urn
Of the earliest wide bellied and rounded body form, dating from circa 680-700 BC., this anthropomorphic lion-man cinerary urn is unique as an earliest complete example of any and all. (among the nearly 50 of these to be seen on the internet and in books, and about every one, now in one or another museum). None other could be found as privately owned. and this, the only singular one extant that represents the combination of animal and man. My belief and assumption is this; The artist/craftsman had seen or was familiar with Egyptian forms and combined use of animal headed gods within their living and burial art. Examples well known are such as the baboon god Thoth, this very piece seems likely to have its root idea anchored in and somewhat after the lion headed god, Sekhmet.
*Of note, Of also museum caliber, there are three further exceptional ancient cinerary containers offered here in later lots, a superior relief worked, lead, Roman shaped front box form cinerary, also, a finest Imperial grade, Roman covered, pedestal based ash container of alabaster,..and, a limestone engraved Coptic one of square form with interesting turning cover. This large and dramatic example is an outstanding museum candidate, guaranteed as spoken and ancient. The fully sculpted head is 6" tall x 5 3/8" widest, ..the complete arm and hands sculpted urn is 15 1/4" high x 10 1/4" widest.
Further positives & a minor negative;
These exclusively Etruscan urns are supreme high points of that important culture, somewhat comparable to a set of Egyptian canopic jars in another important culture. Produced for the use of only one of highest social or royal status or standing, A museum collection of Etruscan art could hardly be considered complete without one, yet far too few have ever been found.
There is only a single one that would be of higher value. Of the existing examples of these, and excavated locally, the exuberant example with standing figure in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Chiusi.
That is also shown here as the last image, it is also totally unique and yet, crafted well over a century later and with expected restoration.
..This offering, like most here, is a first, ..it was gotten privately nearly 40 years ago and has never been seen or offered on the market. ..Among the number mentioned above, numerous are only the heads as covers, ..this one is complete and totally untouched and original, no restorations and in nearly perfect condition. Its right side 'fur inscribed' ear has a small broken away upper/outer edge, mostly seen from the back. There one can see the rather course grey composition of the inner body clay, and note that, as originally, the surface has been covered with a buff reddish clay slip, that worked for its fine surface and detail. A prize with a starting bid at a fraction of its value.