Monday, May 14, 2012

Etruscans resting in peace

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This old bone box at the Bible Lands Museum touched my heart.

The deceased couple is depicted on the lid of the ossuary.

The panels show winged genii leading the dead away.

(Click on the photo and then again on the enlarged photo to see it up close.)

This is an Etruscan ossuary from Etruria, central Italy, dated 400-300 B.C.E.

This is the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem with a modern statue of the tower of Babel in front.

It is located on "museum row," across the street from the Israel Museum and just up the hill from the science museum.
Just to the BLMJ's left I was excited to see the progress of the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel.
I posted about it two years ago when they were just putting up the sign about its future construction.
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I hope the folks at Our World Tuesday enjoy this tour and that the taphophiles at Taphophile Tragics appreciate the bone box.
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23 comments:

Gary said...

Great tour of the museum!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, what an interesting museum. I have never heard it called a bone box. Thanks for sharing!

Robert Geiss said...

You amaze by all these discoveries. Thank you very much for these glimpses of your world.

Please have a good Tuesday.

Sara said...

It touches my heart too. Holding hands...and the way the toes protrude from the blanket at the bottom of the bed.

Ann said...

So that's an ossuary, and a very elaborate one. Don't think I've seen one before. Very useful tradition that would do a lot to open up more cemetery space.

Hels said...

Thanks for mentioning The Bible Lands Museum which was created by Prof Elie Borowski. I met him when he was visiting his two nephews in Melbourne.

In 1976, the Lands of the Bible Archaeology Foundation was established in Borowski's Canada and by 1992 the Bible Lands Museum finally opened in Jerusalem. Great museum!

Pietro said...

So interesting. Thanks for sharing, Dina.

spacedlaw said...

Etruscan graves always look so peaceful.

cieldequimper said...

That's amazing.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Beautiful tomb!

Herding Cats

Robin said...

Beautiful! I was hoping to see more Etruscan artifacts in Rome (was it in the Vatican Museum, I can't remember) but that exhibit was being renovated.

DawnTreader said...

Never seen anything like it!

VP said...

Very interesting and beautiful. I wonder how these old Tuscan spoils ended up there... Do museums swap coffins between them?

Olga Levina said...

What a beautiful piece of art! Thanks for sharing your museum adventures with us. I'm ashamed to say that I hadn't visited the Bible Lands Museum!.. I really should :)

jeannette said...

An interesting way to leave a memory of the couple! Thanks for the info:)

Dina said...

Friends, thank you all for your comments. I love hearing your reactions and contributions to the subject.

VP, the Permanent Exhibition of the Bible Lands Museum is made up almost entirely of the former private collection of the late Dr. Elie Borowski.
Yes, imagine!

The brochure says "Opened in May 1992, the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem was founded by Dr. Elie and Batya Borowski, who donated their priceless collection of ancient artifacts for the express purpose of creating this unique institution dedicated to the history of the civilizations of the Bible."

See also the comment from Hels (Helen) above.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

We know so little about Etruscan civilization, yet the remnants there are indicate a sophisticated society. This ossuary is exceptional.

Julie Storry said...

Dina, could you do me a favour, please?

Could you have a look at my Taphophile post from yesterday and let me know the 'meaning' of the ram's horn within the clam shell, specifically within Judaism. My guess, from reading, is that the horn is a wake up call and the shell is the creation story. But I am not at all sure.

Julie said...

Many thanks for your message, Dina. I will be patient.

Now to your post. An ossuary? Is this like a communal box for bones? I do not know the term at all. I cannot imagine that a single ossuary would take more than two lots of bones at the most, so fail to see how i would relieve space consumption in cemeteries.

CaT said...

bone box, haha...
it seems most people are new to this term, including me.. :D

Joyful said...

Touching.

Dina said...

Bone box is another way to say ossuary; it's not something I made up.
At certain times and places the dead were placed in a sarcophagus (literally, a flesh eater) or in a burial cave. When only the bones were left, they would be gathered and put into an ossuary. The ossuary is usually as long as the longest bone, the femur.
When the Bible says that a man died and "He was gathered unto his fathers, it probably means his bones were put into the collective family bone box.

JM said...

The bone box is fantastic!