Have You Heard About Etruscan Tombs Decorated with Frescos?

Etruscan tombs are the largest documentation of pictorial art, and they are the sole evidence of Etruscan’s life, customs, and mythology.

Sometimes, time plays such a role that the whole civilization disappears in no time. But with the finding of archeological artifacts, we have been able to learn about the lost civilizations. Perhaps something similar happened with Etruscan civilization. But with the finding of these tomb built by Etruscan’s, we could find and learn a lot of things about this lost civilization. This might be Etruscan’s unique way to burial rituals like many other civilizations. Etruscan tombs are the largest documentation of pictorial art, and they are the sole evidence of Etruscans’ life, customs, and mythology which are decorated by beautiful and colorful frescos. Some of the tombs are monumental, cut in rock and topped by tumuli, accessible by means of inclined corridors or stairways. Many different subjects are shown in the frescos, including rituals, animals, magical themes, dance, and musical instruments.

Tomb of the Bulls

This tomb was discovered in 1892 which has been dated back to either 540–530 BC or 530–520 BC. In the middle of the frieze is a line of Etruscan letters saying: “Arath Spuriana” [1], which has been identified as a name – may be of the owner of the tomb. It is named after the two bulls [4 & 5] which appear on one of its frescoes. It is the earliest example of a tomb with complex frescoes in the necropolis.

Features

The Tomb of the Bulls is decorated with several paintings. On one wall there is a large central painting between two doorways [2]. Above this painting, Above the central painting is a long frieze running across the whole wall. From left to right there is a bull lying down and a group of three people copulating [3]. To the right of the inscription is another scene with a bull and a group of two people copulating [5].

Tomb of the Whipping

This tomb is dated to approximately 490 BC and named after a fresco of two men who flog a woman in an erotic context. Most of the paintings are badly damaged. It is made up of a single chamber with a ceiling with the double scope and access by a passage with steps.

Features

On the wall to the right of the entrance, two erotic scenes are visible. They consist of two men and one woman. The scene on the left shows two men who probably have sexual intercourse with the woman standing between them. A woman bending and holding the hips of a bearded man to the right who is flogging her with a flat hand. Possibly the woman performs fellatio on the male, but damage makes it impossible to determine for sure. Another beardless man stands behind her to the left, with one hand on her buttocks and a raised whip in the other hand. The flogging might have had a ritualistic nature.

Nude Boxer left of the door on the entry wall

Tomb of Hunting and Fishing

It was discovered in 1873 and has been dated variously to about ~530 BC. Hunting and fishing scenes (Tomb of Hunting and Fishing and Tomb of the Hunter) symbolize the tomb owner’s distinguished lifestyle. The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing indicate how Dionysian elements had been incorporated into the Etruscan cult of the dead and their notions about the after-life in the Archaic period.

Features

A hunting scene can be seen in the Pediment. In the center of the left corner, a slave brings a stool, there is a dog and a pole on to which a buck is hung. The hunter proceeds to his horse. There is also a second horse which is black in color. Another servant with two dogs leads the procession.

Tomb of the Leopards

This tomb was named due to confronted leopards painted above a banquet scene that dates to around 480–450 BC. The painting is one of the best-preserved murals of Tarquinia and is known for its lively coloring, and its animated depictions rich with gestures.

Features

The man on the far-right couch holds up an egg, symbol of regeneration, and other banqueters hold wreaths. The scene is usually taken to represent the deceased’s funerary banquet or a family meal that would be held on the anniversary of his death. It is presented as a celebration of life.


Tomb of the Blue Demons

Right Wall

It was discovered in 1985. The tomb is named after the blue and black-skinned demons that appear in an underworld scene on the right wall. The tomb has been dated to the end of the fifth century BC.

Right Wall

Features

The fresco of the procession on the left wall signifies the journey to the afterlife. Likewise, the fresco on the right wall has also been interpreted as the journey of a deceased woman to the underworld, where she meets predeceased family members. It depicts an antechamber to the underworld in which demons guide the deceased woman to the ship for her journey.

Reference

The abundance of life Book by Stephen Steingraber

http://e-agora.dk/artikler/agora_12/Oliver_Storgaard-Hallsson.pdf

http://www.mysteriousetruscans.com/tarqhf.html

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