Head in wood
7th century needle.
The head, ornament of a Canopic vase, is the only wooden example of Etruscan sculpture that has survived. It is an authentic artefact, as confirmed by the radiometric analysis C14, donated to the Archaeological Museum of Milan in 1987 by a private collector. The canopic jars were so called by nineteenth-century scholars for their resemblance to Egyptian funerary vessels, closed by animal or human head lids and containing the organs of the dead. However, this type of ossuary was usual only for the Etruscans of the Chiusina area who, still in the VII-VI century BC. they had not abandoned the funerary habit of cremation, thus distinguishing themselves from the Etruscans of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, more inclined to inundation in large chamber and mound tombs. The head of the Archaeological Museum of Milan is probably female, as both the long braid hairstyle and the holes in the lobes seem to indicate, a trace of the existence of earrings. Originally it had to be equipped with irises and pupils made of bone, ivory or glass paste, and be covered with a gold leaf, of which traces remain on the face. Although neither the origin nor the context is known, it is likely that it surmounted a vase containing the ashes of an important person and that it was part of the equipment of a princely tomb.