Background Information

Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, Museum purchase

The Cinerary Urn is an Etruscan sepulchral chest and has been part of the Worcester Art Museum’s permanent collection for 86 years. The Etruscan culture emerged in Italy, in modern day Tuscany. Life after death was of great interest to the Etruscans, making this piece very important to their culture. This particular urn was found in a tomb near Chiusi, Italy by archaeologist, Giancarlo Conestabile6.The Cinerary Urn dates to about mid- fourth century   before the common era (350 BCE).


This piece is made of terra cotta. Some archeologists claim that there are traces of polychrome, decorations of several colors, namely red, blue, yellow, brown, and vermilion6. The Cinerary Urn is also of particular size measuring, 44.25 in (h) x 35.125 in (w) x 20.75 in (d)2. This is interesting because it is of intermediary size between a sepulchral chest and a sarcophagus. The Etruscan mastery of terra cotta is reflected in the size and the uncanny beauty the urn emitting.