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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Etruscan Sima Painted Wall Covering

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LOT 0065

GBP (£) 500 - 700
EUR (€) 600 - 840
USD ($) 680 - 950

Opening Bid
£405 (EUR 484; USD 551) (‡+bp*)

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Etruscan Sima Painted Wall Covering

6th century BC

An Etruscan terracotta pediment, sima, comprising two bands of decorated patterns; the horizontal band with raised border along the upper edge divided in two fasciae, the first decorated with painted tongue pattern, in alternating dark blue and red and yellow colour, the second one decorated with a painted single guilloche in alternate red and dark blue colour, the two fasciae separated by a red line. 5.5 kg, 44cm total (17 1/4"). Fair condition, in pieces including restored areas.

Van der Aa collection collection, Belgium, formerly Netherlands, 1960s.
With Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, Munch, Germany, Auktion 303, lot 1025.
From a private Australian collection.
Accompanied by a copy of the Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger invoice and relevant catalogue pages.
Accompanied by a copy of the previous collector's cataloguing document.

Cf. Torelli, M., Gli Etruschi, Cinisello Balsamo, 2000, pp.156,331, for similar architectural examples; Wikander, O., 'The Archaic and Etruscan Sima' in De Puma D., Penny Small, J., Murlo and the Etruscans, Art and Society in Ancient Etruria, London, 1994, pp.47-63, figs.18,50; Winter, N., 'Traders and Refugees: Contribution to Etruscan Architecture' in Etruscan Studies, November, 2017, pp.123-151, fig.7, 8.

A great revolution of Greek origin, took place in the Etruscan architecture towards the middle of the 7th century BC: the introduction of terracotta roofs. Pliny the Elder tells (Nat. Hist., XXXV, 152) of the entry into Etruscan land, following a certain Demaratus, of a workforce of Greek origin who introduced new construction techniques and in particular the choroplasty, similar to those observed in Greece, in Corinth and Sicyon, by Butades. The Plinian story is partly confirmed by the Acquarossa excavations for the level referable to the end of the 7th century BC which features painted terracotta tile roofs, modelled and painted acroteria and antefixes, with motifs taken from the sub geometric, Greek and Orientalizing repertoire. The same type of decoration is witnessed in the complex of the Orientalizing period of Poggio Civitate, having both a residential (for the local lord) and a cult function, datable to around 650 BC, with cut-out clay acroteria. It is therefore attested from the middle of the 7th century BC, in Etruria and in all the placed reached by the Etruscan expansion (like Capua) the existence of workshops made up of craftsmen specialised in different techniques, capable of carrying out complex and complete works. Terracotta plaques like this sima were used in the pediments of the temples (Minerva at Veii, Portonaccio Sanctuary, 540-530 BC).