jeudi 23 septembre 2010

Aimables Etrusques

In the open room upon the courtyard of the Palazzo Vitelleschi lie a few sarcophagi of stone, with the effigies carved on top, something as the dead crusaders in English churches. And here, in Tarquinia, the effigies are more like crusaders than usual, for some lie flat on their backs, and have a dog at their feet; whereas usually the carved figure of the dead rears up as if alive, from the lid of the tomb, resting upon one elbow, and gazing out proudly, sternly. If it is a man, his body is exposed to just below the navel, and he holds in his hand the sacred patera, or mundum, the round saucer with the raised knob in the centre, which represents the round germ of heaven and earth. And this patera, this symbol, is almost invariably found in the hand of a dead man. But if the dead is a woman her dress falls in soft gathers from her throat, she wears splendid jewellery, and she holds in her hand not the mundum, but the mirror, the box of essence, the pomegranate, some symbols of her reflected nature, or of her woman's quality. But she, too, is given a proud, haughty look, as is the man: for she belongs to the sacred families that rule and that read the signs.
Sketches of Etruscan Places de D.H. Lawrence
Quand j’ai pris ces photos au Louvre, ce que les effigies de ces Etrusques tenaient dans leurs mains m'a évidemment intriguée. Mais j’ai un peu oublié de chercher. Heureusement que D.H. Lawrence avait été plus curieux que moi... Il ajoute : « If we want to see what the Etruscans buried there we must go to the (...) British Museum in London, and see vases and statues, bronzes, sarcophagi and jewels. »
Ai-je besoin de préciser que c’est là que je vais filer dès la fin de mes réunions de la journée ?

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