Santa Costanza: Constantina's porphyry sarcophagus--page 4 (of four pages)

(This is actually a copy of the original which is now in the Vatican Museum.)

The sarcophagus is in a niche directly opposite the entrance. It is made of porphyry, probably quarried in Egypt; this stone was associated with imperial purposes. The peacocks and the lamb at the base of the sarcophagus are Christian symbols although the winged putti and the grape harvest motif began as a Bacchic theme. The mask on the lid is also Bacchic in origin.
The sarcophagus is decorated with reliefs of putti harvesting grapes (a common theme in classical art and seen as well in the mosaics of the barrel-vaulted ambulatory). The scenes are framed by large acanthus scrolls..

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.