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Source Image: PR305_03_24 of Columnar Sarcophagus (2) of Aphrodisias: Sarcophagi

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Description

Detail of the front of a columnar sarcophagus.

Monument
Aphrodisias: Sarcophagi 
Monument Part
Columnar Sarcophagus (2) 
Monument Type
Sarcophagus 
Material(s)
Aphrodisian marble (Visual identification)  
Date
circa ad 120 - circa ad 250 
Keywords
FigureArchColumnColumnar Sarcophagus  
Collections
Aphrodisias, Site and Museum  

Location

Original Location
Aphrodisias 

Evidence for working practices

1. Toolmarks

Process
Squaring
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Vertical (90°)
Force: Medium
Description
An initial stage of squaring is evidenced by the rough stone around the figures and between the arches at the top.

2. Toolmarks

Process
Roughing-out
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Vertical (90°)
Force: Gentle
Description
Following this work the point chisel was used to roughly shape the architectural framework. Remains of this stage of work can be seen on the columns between the figures.

3. Toolmarks

Process
Rough shaping
Tool
Tooth Chisel
Method
Angle: Shallow (40-50°)
Force: Medium
Description
The arches and capitals, and probably also the bases, were then defined and flattened with the tooth chisel.

4. Toolmarks

Process
Rough shaping
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Vertical (90°)
Force: Gentle
Description
The figures are worked carefully with the point chisel.

Notes

This sarcophagus provides important evidence for working practices. For a complete view see PR305_03_22. Following initial roughing-out it was the architectural framework that was worked first, in particular the arches, capitals and bases which defined how the space was broken up. These appear to have been roughed-out (as evidenced by the columns) and then worked with the tooth chisel before any detailed carving of the figures began; the columns were not shaped with the tooth chisel because the figures were likely to overlap them. On the end (see PR305_04_03) the stages that this roughing-out was broken up into are clear. Only once the architectural framework was defined did work begin on the figures. These were carved individually, with the carver simply working in from the front plane of the stone, shaping them to a highly defined state before turning to the background around them. This is a working practice also found on figured sarcophagi at Rome but it is a different technique from that used on the garland sarcophagi where the form of the design was blocked-out and the surrounding surface cut right back to the background before detailed carving started.

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