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Urn

Late Roman, 3rd–4th century; porphyry; 40 × 45 cm (15 3/4 × 17 11/16 in.). BZ.1941.5
Urn

The design and construction of this urn point firmly to a late Roman attribution. The material is porphyry, a stone formed from fragmented volcanic material with a dark red or purple cast. It was quarried in eastern Egypt from Mount Porphyrites, modern-day Gebel Doukhan. Its extreme hardness made it difficult to carve, but it was prized for its color, which came to be associated with imperial dignity.

 

Provenance

Attilio (1843–1925) or Ugo (1871–1960) Simonetti, Rome, Italy; purchased from Simonetti by Brummer Gallery, September 1927 (inventory P4455); purchased from Brummer Gallery by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC, October 1941.

 

Selected Bibliography

G. M. A. Richter, Catalogue of Greek and Roman Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection (Cambridge, MA, 1956), 23, no. 13.

 

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