c. 50 BC
Overall: 73.6 x 42.5 cm (29 x 16 3/4 in.)
Gift of James E. and Elizabeth J. Ferrell 2005.52
The seated woman is depicted larger to visually emphasize her importance; her servant is in the background.
The multiple figures, inscription, use of perspective, and architectural frame distinguish this ambitious relief as one of the most important of its type. The Greek inscription on the base reads, “To Sbardia, also named Tate, Eumelos, son of Aphrodisios, her father, [set this up].” The deceased is shown seated on an elaborate chair. A servant girl holding a fan suggests Sbardia’s high social standing. At the bottom right corner, a hen perches on an upturned basket, a symbol of “the good life.” The stele incorporates a “springing” gable supported by engaged half columns with simplified Corinthian capitals. Other features relate to beliefs about mortality and the afterlife. Above and to the left of her chair is her winged psyche (soul) shown leaving her body. Figures of the three fates are shown in the pediment above, reminding us that human life is finite.
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