Etruscan Priest with Patera and Incense Box

By
Laura Hutchison
Laura Hutchison is a student in the Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Classical Art and Archaeology at Hopkins. Her research interests include Greek and Roman religion, the human form in ancient art, and modern issues in illicit trade of antiquities. She was excited and grateful to work so closely with ancient objects in preparation for The Roman House at Hopkins.

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  • Accession Number: JHUAM K27
  • Measurements: Height: 8.9cm, Width: 6.8cm
  • Material: Copper alloy
  • Culture/Date: Etruscan, 3rd-2nd c. BCE
  • Provenance: Unknown
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Back view.

Statuettes of this type have been found in both Etruscan and Roman sites. This statuette of a priest bears a patera, or shallow ritual offering dish, in his right hand and an incense box in his left. This figure features many of the iconographic hallmarks of Roman depictions of Lares. However, the figure’s dress, modeling, and fabrication suggest an Etruscan date (ca. 3rd-2nd c. BCE). The similarities in posture and attributes between this priest and later representations of Lares illustrate the continuity between Etruscan and Roman religious practices.