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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: the Orientalizing phase

Tintinnabulum made of repoussé bronze foil

Tintinnabulum made of repoussé bronze foil

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On the front side, in the lower frame, there are two women sitting on thrones that make the spindles ready to be handed over to the spinner, who is portrayed in a smart dress in the upper frame.
Additionally, on the lower rear side, other women fix a bunch of yarn around a distaff with a string of cloth. In the upper frame, there is the spinner sitting at a two-levelled loom that spins the fabric helped by her handmaid, who hands her over the stiffener, in order to pull the threads tight during the spinning.
Besides the fact that the tintinnabulum is made of a repoussé bronze foil, which is quite a sophisticated goldsmithing technique, what makes this artefact unique, the only one of this type in the area of Bologna, is the elaborate depiction of the scenes that is unprecedented in Bologna but can be compared to the engraved ivories, manufactured in northern Etruria, which was more open to the influences of the Orientalising culture. It is from this region that came the skilful craftsman who decorated this artefact that was exclusively intended for women and depicts scenes mainly exalting household chores of the lady of the house.
This new style of decoration became particularly popular in Northern Italy and was especially appreciated at Este, which was the main centre of a refined manufacture of repoussé bronzes generally known as “situla art”.

Provenance: Bologna, Necropolis of the Military Arsenal, tomb 5
Datation: Last quarter of the 7th century B.C.
Material: bronze
Dimensions: h. 11.5 cm; max. w. 9.2 cm.
Inventory #: 25676

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