Etruscan mirror

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BronzeSalto de línea EtruriaSalto de línea 5th century BCSalto de línea

The mirror is decorated with the figure of a siren—a bird-woman hybrid—flanked by two serpents. The Etruscan artist who made this object, a burial offering, chose a prestigious motif from the Greek repertoire and introduced it into his own figurative universe in the seventh century BC. The siren is a demon whose hybrid nature allows her to roam spaces forbidden to humans. She snatches mortals from their existence in the world of the living and transports them to the kingdom beyond.


The scenes painted on Greek pottery tell us much about daily life in the Greek polis: its social structure, the status of men and women and the activities they performed, and the world of their gods and heroes. The different scenes also bear witness to the importance of Greek trade in the Mediterranean, from the eighth to the fourth century BC, and to the legacy of that ancient culture which still lives on today.