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Source Image: PR305_05_20 of Relief Sarcophagus (1) of Aphrodisias: Sarcophagi

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Description

Close-up of front of a relief sarcophagus.

Monument
Aphrodisias: Sarcophagi 
Monument Part
Relief Sarcophagus (1) 
Monument Type
Sarcophagus 
Material(s)
Aphrodisian marble (Visual identification)  
Date
circa ad 120 - circa ad 250 
Keywords
BodyZeus/JupiterRelief Sarcophagus  
Collections
Aphrodisias, Site and Museum  

Location

Original Location
Aphrodisias 

Evidence for working practices

1. Toolmarks

Process
Roughing-out
Tool
Point
Method
Angle: Vertical (90°)
Force: Gentle
Description
The hair and neck of this figure are roughed-out with the point chisel. On the hand the remains of rough work can be seen between the fingers and around the top of the hand. The original shape of the roughed-out form compared to the finished hand can also be appreciated.

2. Toolmarks

Process
Rough shaping
Tool
Tooth Chisel
Method
Angle: Shallow (40-50°)
Force: Medium
Description
Tooth chisel marks are visible on the surface of the staff. There are no tooth chisel marks on the hand, however, which suggests that here the carver went straight from point chisel to flat chisel.

3. Toolmarks

Process
Fine shaping
Tool
Flat Chisel
Method
Angle: Shallow (40-50°)
Force: Gentle
Description
The hand and shoulder of the figure have been worked with the flat chisel.

4. Toolmarks

Process
Flattening
Tool
Flat Chisel
Method
Angle: Shallow (40-50°)
Force: Medium
Description
The background is flattened with the flat chisel. The carver here was worked around the forms, following their profiles.

Notes

On this sarcophagus the progression of tool types is especially clear and varies across its surface. On the face of this figure the carver used the point chisel to rough it out, then the tooth chisel a little on the face. The staff too was worked with the point and then the tooth chisel. Work on both of these elements stopped at this stage. On the hand and body of the figure, however, point chiselling seems to have been followed directly by flat chiselling. The tooth chisel, in other words, was used but the carver did not progress uniformly from point, through tooth, to flat chisel. Interestingly this carver also decided to work the background with the flat chisel when it is more often flattened with the tooth chisel at Aphrodisias. Even if this feature is not typical at the site, this flexibility of tool usage is characteristic of Aphrodisian carving.

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