Originally excavated from Poggio Cantarello, Tuscany, the sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tiesnasa was produced by Etruscan artisans between 250 and 150 BCE, in order to house the remains of one of the original inhabitants of Chiusi, prior to the Ancient Romans. 

Seianti’s name is inscribed on the base of her tomb and it is thought that she was a woman of high status. The impression of her human form, fashioned from terracotta and natural pigments, reveals her plumpness (and therefore her elevated rank). Furthermore, her fine, traditional hellenistic dress, the various jewellery that adorns her hair and body and the fact that she commanded her own tomb, are further testament to her dynastic wealth and status. 

References: Judith Swaddling and John Prag (eds), “Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa. The Story of an Etruscan Noblewoman.” British Museum Occasional Paper no.100, 2002, 2nd edition 2006, Trustees of the British Museum. Lucilla Burn, The British Museum Book of Greek and Roman Art, British Museum Press, 1991. Who Was Seianti? The Open University Channel. 

Image: The Sarcophagus of Seianti Hanunia Tiesnasa, 250 BCE-150 BCE, terracotta and paint, London, The British Museum.  

© 2017 Trustees of the British Museum. 

Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson

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