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Final Farewell: The Culture of Death and the Afterlife

The Spectacle of Death: Funerary Customs in Ancient Greece and Italy

back to Greece & Italy section homeCineray Urncineray amphoraLekythos (pot)Mask of MedusaSiren FigurineRhytonHydriaAutumn statuestele of boyfunerary statuehead from grave stele to Suicide in Greece & Rome section

Figurine of a SirenFigurine of a Siren

Sirens were deadly female creatures in Greek mythology. The half-human, half-bird creatures lured sailors with seductive singing to the treacherous coast of their island, where they killed and devoured the shipwrecked men. Symbols of death, siren figurines were frequently placed in or on graves as protective figures. While larger figures in stone sometimes marked graves above ground, small terracotta figures such as this example were placed in the grave itself.

Figurine of a Siren
Greek, Hellenistic Period
late 4th c. B.C.E.
Painted terracotta
(64.59)

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