Ash Chest



Rectangular ash chest of M. Claudius Paetus, with associated lid (59.148.360b). It was excavated outside the Porta Capena in Rome and then in the Mattei collection. It was exported by Lisandroni and d' Este in 1789. The chest stands on four low feet and is decorated on all its four sides. The top edge is not shaped to hold the lid and there are no signs of clamp holes. The interior cavity is smoothly worked. The decoration is the same on all its four sides but the available field is wider on the front and back rather than its sides. On each side the field is framed by a plain fascia and cyma moulding and the surface is worked smooth. The inscription is Side 1: M.CLAVDI Side 2: PAETI Side 3: M.CLAVDI Side 4: PAETI The Monumenta Matthaeiana only recorded one inscription on the ash chest the M.Claudi but the Account included the inscription on the three sides. There is a question as to whether all the sides originally had the inscription. The words and the letters are very similar to all the sides and this could well mean that they were all carved at the same time. The repetition of the name and the arrangement across the two sides of the chest is very unusual. The general design of the framed fields on the sides, front and back and the low feet suggest a very early design The ash chest was displayed by Henry Blundell at Ince Hall in a niche on the staircase, used as a base for a statue.