Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meadows Museum - Etruscan Temple and the Tomb

Diadem, Late 4th c. B.C., Gold.
From Populonia. Florence, National Archaeological Museum

Over spring break I visited the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus to see this incredible exhibit reflecting the Etruscan culture (it will be displayed through May 17, 2009). The exhibit has quite a depth and breadth with over 300 objects exhibited - it is the largest exhibit of Etruscan art shown in the United States, and it is right here in Dallas! The Meadows Museum is honoring the 15th anniversary of SMU professor P. Gregory Warden’s groundbreaking archaeological excavation in Poggio Colla, Italy with this exhibition dedicated to the great ancestors of Rome. The Etruscan culture served as a kind of bridge between the Greeks and the Romans, eventually becoming absorbed into the Roman culture.

This diadem, which is a type of crown or ornamental headband, is just one of the spectacular pieces in the exhibit. Made of gold, the leaves are delicate and soft. The gold is handled expertly and it is remarkable to me that it is in such good shape because it appears to be so fragile.

I attended a lecture that evening: Weaving as Worship: The Role of Women in Etruscan Religious Ritual given by Dr. Gretchen Meyers. I have been a weaver for more than 30 years. The archeological excavation mentioned above has produced scores of weaving implements and tools. It was interesting to see images of the site and hear the ideas Dr. Meyers had about the role of elite women in the production of sacred textiles. Women had great freedom and an unusually active role in the Etruscan culture. It's hard to describe the excitement I felt realizing that I have continued an activity that happened so many centuries ago. I feel a connection to those women and know what it might have been like for them to produce these fabrics.

Lekythos. Attic. Attributed to the Amasis Painter. Terracotta (Black Figure). Height: 6 ¾ inches (17.15 cm). Ca. 550-530 B.C. Metropolitan Museum of Art (31.11.10


ART DOG said...

thank you so very much for remembering the name of Dr. Myer's talk--i was thinking about some of her ideas to use in my SMU thesis--and i came up with your blog when i was looking for Dr. Myer's notes on weaving online.

Omar said...

Article really interesting, I took it as a cue to my studies, but very interesting and also found this Online shop on Etruscan Art, has a small section blog where he explains in detail who were the Etruscans. It's worth taking a look :-)