Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Etruscan Art

Why are Etruscan tombs built to look like houses?

Known for cremating their dead, the Etruscans seem to have thought of their tombs as being like homes for the dead in the afterlife. The tombs themselves were organized in a grid-like pattern, much like a small downtown. The Tomb of the Reliefs is a famous Etruscan tomb that features pots, tools, and even couches, all carved from stone and made to look like objects from a normal Etruscan house. There is even a carving of the family dog! But, there is also a carving of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the underworld, according to Greek mythology. Much like the Egyptians, the Etruscans attempted to bring the dead the comforts of home.

An Etruscan sarcophagus. Etruscan art is known for its energy and realism.


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