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Home > Auctions > 24th May 2022 > Etruscan Funerary Figure Hands

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LOT 0072

GBP (£) 3,000 - 4,000
EUR (€) 3,500 - 4,670
USD ($) 3,750 - 5,000

Sold for (Inc. bp): £6,240



A pair of hands from a funerary figure, each formed from a hammered bronze sheet with elongated slender fingers, long thumbs curving outwards, with folded tubular sheet for the forearms. 8 7/8 - 9 1/4 in. (155 grams total, 22.5-23.5 cm). Fine condition. [2]

Japanese gentleman, c.1980.
Property of a London gentleman.
Accompanied by an archaeological report by Dr Raffaele D’Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11166-188053.

Cf. Torelli, M., Gli Etruschi, Monza, 2000, p.125 and pp.568-569, fig.81, nos.24-25, a pair of hands from the tomb of the Bronze Chariot of Vulci, Necropolis of the Osteria, today at the Museum of Villa Giulia, Rome, inv. nos.84865-84868; cf. also Falconi Amorelli, M.T., ‘Corredi di tre tombe rinvenute a Vulci nella necropoli di Mandrione di Cavalupo’ in Studi Etruschi, XXXVII, 1969, pp.181-211; Cristofani, M., I bronzi degli Etruschi (Etruscan bronzes, in Italian), Novara, 1985; Emiliozzi, A., Carri da Guerra e principi etruschi (War chariots and Etruscan princes, in Italian), Roma, 1999, pp.139ff., fig.2.

On the floor of the sepulchral room, where the Bronze Chariot of Vulci was found, a number of other objects were recovered, including two pairs of bronze hands. Bracelets with a similar diameter to the smaller hands were also recovered, together with other personal items. When composed together, these items formed schematic human figures: a parabátes (or lord owner of the tomb) and his charioteer. It is highly probable that the two figures were recreated in the tomb, and the hands with smaller dimensions were placed in correlation with a bronze head, creating a figure with a wooden body that was placed near the back wall of the tomb. The hands with bigger dimensions were paired with similar but richer ornaments, probably re-creating the main figure of the owner of the tomb. These kind of fittings are not common (other examples in Cristofani, 1985, p.288) and some of them were also made in ivory (Falconi Amorelli, 1969, pp.205-211, six ivory fingers, pl.XXXIX, b, fig.11,5). It is highly probable that our pair of hands came from a similar grave, and the lack of decoration, as well as the small dimensions, could support the theory that they belonged to a junior character in the grave.