Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan collection: Felsinean phase

Certosa Situla

This vessel, the handles of which were lost, which is regarded as the “Queen of the Situlae”, owing to its magnificent elaborate repoussé decoration, was used as a valuable cinerary urn in a female’s hypogeal tomb that can be dated back to the first quarter of the 5th century B.C. (500 – 475 B.C.).
An Attic black-varnished container for ointment (lèkythos), a terracotta bowl from a local manufacture, and two bronze fibulae were included in the grave goods. In the sepulchre, the situla was covered with a sandstone plate.

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This sophisticated vessel, which was moulded at least a year before it was placed in the burial chamber, had been preserved over a long period of time for the valuableness of its adornment. It is, in fact, one of the most significant examples of the so-called Situla Art, an art tendency, the area of maximal growth of which is located in the Alpine-Venetian region, which distinguished between the 7th and 6th century B.C. for the adornment on several rows with vegetal patterns, mythical animals, and scenes from quotidian life, distinctive of the aristocratic class. This situla almost certainly constituted an opulent gift to an upper-class notable from Padanian Etruria.
This vessel is made up of a single bronze foil, which was rolled up and fixed with hammered down nails, decorated in embossing and engraving. The scenes represented on its surface are aligned on four rows: from top to bottom, there can be seen a parade of armed men, a procession of figures carrying various utensils for a sacrifice and banquet, a music competition between hunting and ploughing scenes, and, last but not least, a succession of real and fabulous animals.

Provenance: Bologna, Certosa Necropolis, tomb 68
Datation: first half of the 6th century B.C.
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: h. 32 cm
Inventory #: 17169

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