Ash Chest



Rectangular ash chest of C. Iulius Hirmaiscus. The chest is decorated on three sides and the back is not decorated. The cavity is finished at the top rather than more roughly worked below. There are clamp holes on the sides and a circular hole drilled into the top edge of the chest at the front corner and the back right corner. The top edge of the chest is shaped to hold the lid. The inscription: C.IVLIVS HIRMAISCVS VIXIT, ANN.XXI Gaius Iulius/Hirmaiscus/vixit annis XXI. At the front there are also columns with spirally fluted shafts and ionic capitals. The details of the capitals are more preserved on the sides. The carving of the flutes is very fine and the columns have high moulded bases. A fruit and flower garland hangs down from the capitals in the arc below the inscription panel. The lunette above has an eagle with spread wings and below the corner smaller birds facing outwards but with the heads turning backwards to peck at the garland. On the sides and within a panel framed by a plain fascia moulding along the top, bottom and back is a large palmette with two six petalled rosettes at the top. All the motifs were popular for ash chests, sometimes garlands were supported by masks and heads but columns were known for more architectural designs. The eagle wasan attribute of Jupiter and was later associated with the apotheosis of the Emperor although not before the end of the late 1st century AD. The garland is drilled with narrow bridges of stone connecting the fruits but only the detail on the birds was worked with a chisel. The artist put some effort in making all the fruit looking different and in showing some detail: the style of the garland is similar to various examples, dated between late Claudian and early Flavian period. Spiral columns with Ionic capitals are used from late Claudian to Trajanic times.