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Front Panel from a Child's Sarcophagus

Front Panel from a Child's Sarcophagus
Front Panel from a Child's Sarcophagus
Roman, Eastern Empire
ca. A.D. 190 - 220
Thasian marble
(83.65)
Silver Anniversary gift of MU Development Fund Board and
Boone County Community Trust

The representation of a chariot race in a circus, with Erotes as charioteers, was considered appropriate for the coffin of a child and was often used, probably symbolizing life as a race. This sarcophagus is exceptionally rich in its decoration since the circus is shown in great detail, with chariots going in both directions on either side of the spina, or central divider. The extraordinary three-dimensional quality of the relief is enhanced by the action on two planes, as well as by the remarkable rendering of depth in the chariots rounding the end-posts.

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