Biconical cinerary urn covered by
a bell helmet with removable pommel in the shape of a sword hilt.
Urn and helmet with geometric decoration executed with a three-point comb and
containing traces of light pigment. Series of crosses, swastikas and hooks, some
of which embedded in squares. Meander pattern below the urn's flared rim. The
carination to the waist with a line of embossed dots.
The house-shaped pommel recurrent on Etruscan helmet lids proves here to be a
removable sword hilt. Its top edge is lined with tiny holes that may have held
small bronze rings.
For a comparable example, cf. lot no. 4 in: Münzen und Medaillen AG. Sonderliste
U: Italische Keramik. Basel 1984.
This type of biconical urn is typical of the Villanovan culture of the 9th–8th
centuries BC. It was used to hold the ashes of human bodies after cremation. The
helmet lid denotes a male burial and the status of the deceased.
The removable knob uncovers an opening on the helmet, a sort of spirit hole
through which the soul can exit.
Grogged impasto ware with finely burnished surface. Color, quality and
workmanship of the ceramic show that urn and lid belong together.
H. 47 cm (18.5 in)
H. urn 32.5 cm (12.8 in)
Rare, fine condition. Urn intact, helmet reconstituted from fragments, hilt
glued from two pieces.
European private collection since the 1970s. Joined by a search of the Art Loss
Register Database, issued May 2010.
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