Description Cistae were containers used to safeguard precious objects, including mirrors, perfume flasks, and cosmetics. A particular type of cista was made during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE in Praeneste, a site in Latium (the region around Rome) that was heavily influenced by Etruscan culture. The elaborately engraved scenes are thought to imitate famous, but now lost, Greek wall-paintings. The ancient metalworker often pressed a white substance into the engraved lines in order to accentuate the decoration. The handles commonly take the form of human figures. Many artists in other early Italian cultures similarly incorporated figures of humans in functional objects. This female athlete performs a somersault. She wears only a diadem (headband) and shoes. Etruscans loved to incorporate human figures, including those of athletes, into their everyday objects.
Provenance Joseph Brummer, Paris and New York, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1924, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1924
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