среда, 24 июля 2019 г.

Winged lion found in Vulci excavations

Another exceptional find has been discovered at the Vulci archaeological excavations, one of the largest metropoles of southern Etruria in the Viterbo province.

Winged lion found in Vulci excavations
Credit: ANSA

A statue of a winged lion has been found, sculpted from local grey volcanic rock, in the Osteria necropolis. The vast cemetery is northwest of the urban plain and is known for being where numerous key funerary finds came to light, such as the Tomb of the Sphinx and the Tomb of the Silver Hands.
«The winged lion is sophisticated evidence,» said Foundation Vulci scientific director Carlo Cast, «of what was a tradition in the Vulci area artistic production of the 6th century BC. In that period, Vulci workshops sculpted sphinxes, lions, panthers, battering-rams, centurions and sea monsters, who were to guard over the eternal rest of the dead. But around 520 BC, the production of these statues stopped, perhaps an attempt to put an limit on the showing off of luxury that had begun to be considered inappropriate.»

The representation of large cats weaves its way through the history of mankind, maintaining its symbolism of strength, power, and royalty. Though they disappeared long ago from Italian wildlife, large cats appeared in the ancient world and among the Etruscans due to the circulation of goods and ideas in the first centuries of the first millennium BC. In line with eastern traditions, in addition to being represented in a natural manner, large cats could take on imaginary characteristics, often winged or with composite features such as human head.
Beyond the figurative language used, the sculptures of panthers and lions are not simply decorations: they are also part of the rituals and mythology of the ancient world, such as the tradition for lions to guard doors, including both the physical ones in cities and spiritual ones of the world of the dead.

The excavations — conducted by the archaeology, fines arts, and landscape superintendency for the Rome metropolitan area, the Viterbo province, and southern Etruria alongside Fondazione Vulci and with the collaboration of the Montalto di Castro municipality — will continue for all of 2019.

Source: ANSA [July 23, 2019]



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