Ash Chest



Rectangular ash chest and lid, with an inscription to Fulvanus: DIS MANIBUS FVLVANO.ARCII To the shades. To Fulvanus (slave) of Arcius (or architect). The lettering does not suggest that the inscription was an 18th century addition. The ash chest was included in Monumenta Matthaeina without an inscription on the panel and the inscription to Fulvanus appeared for a different ash chest. In the Engravings volume the ash chest was represented with the current inscription. The inscription is attested since 1740s but was most likely not the original inscription for this ash chest. The names Fulvanus and Arcius are not attested in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. The chest is small and the decoration is mainly at the front of the ash chest, the sides worked smoothly and the back roughly worked. The main decoration at the front is of standing eagles with partially spread wings. In their beaks they hold the end of a fruit garland which is positioned underneath the inscription panel. There is a simple fascia moulding with a single horizontal groove along the bottom of the front. Complex and undecorated moulding rans across the top front and frame the inscription panel. The mouldings continue onto the sides of the chest but only up to the recessed panel which contains the remaining of the eagles. Eagles were not common as the garland supports on ash chests but were often at the lower corners with the Ammon heads placed at the upper corners. Eagles were popular because they were associated with Jupiter and with scenes of apotheosis. The motifs used are very limited but the carving quality is excellent. The feathers of the eagles are detailed especially in the leg area. The garland has different types of fruit including pine cones, and each of the fruit are separated from each other with drilled channels. The eagles are similar to those on the ash chest of Claudia Memphis in Copenhangen although the garland is slightly different. The garland of 59.148.328a is rather flat and this is characteristic of the late first/early 2nd century AD. The chest appears with different lids in Monumenta Mattheiana and with the current lid in the Engravings volume. Neither of the lids was its original and the current lid may have been made for the ash chest in the 18th century.