Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: the Orientalizing phase

Symbolic axe

This axe belongs to a typology of weapons distinctive of the advanced Villanovan period in Bologna and comes from a lavish male’s sepulchre with a complex structure. The magnificent figurative decoration on both sides makes the axe stand out.

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These are motifs distinctive of the Orientalising repertoire and significantly recur on an artefact undoubtedly manufactured in Bologna: from the top to the bottom one can notice a fawn looking backwards, a “tree of life”, a sphinx, a beast (probably a lion) with its jaws wide open and drooping tongue. These motifs are well known in the coeval sculptural production, as well as in the small bronze plastic art, and in ceramics, testifying the adoption of Orientalising iconographical models. Even though it seemed quite desultory, the Orientalising ceramics interests every aspects and techniques in the local craftsmanship.

Provenance: Bologna, Arnoaldi Necropolis, tomb XI / 1883
Datation: 625 - 600 B.C.
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: h. 23.2 cm
Inventory #: 26245

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