Tomb of the Triclinium

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Tomb of the Triclinium
Detail of two dancers on the right wall

The Tomb of the Triclinium (Italian: Tomba del Triclinio) or the Funereal Bed (del Letto Funebre)[1] is an Etruscan tomb in the Necropolis of Monterozzi near Tarquinia, Italy. It was discovered in 1830.[2] Stefan Steingraber, Associate Professor at the Italian Research University 'Roma Tre'[3], dates the tomb to approximately 470 BC and calls it one of the most famous of all Etruscan tombs. He considers the artistic quality of the tomb's frescoes to be superior to those of most other Etruscan tombs.[4] The tomb is named after the triclinium, the formal dining room which appears in the frescoes of the tomb.[2]

Since its discovery the tomb's frescoes have deteriorated and lost some of their color and detail. In 1949 they were moved to the Tarquinia National Museum to conserve them. Thanks to the watercolor copies made by Carlo Ruspi shortly after the discovery of the tomb it is still possible to see the frescoes in their former state.[2]


Detail of a barbiton player on the left wall

The tomb consists of a single room. The fresco on the back wall shows a banquet scene, borrowed from depictions of drinking scenes on Attic red-figure pottery from the early fifth century. The banqueteers recline on three couches called klinai.[4] On the floor under the klinai a cat prowls towards a rooster and a partridge.[2] On the left wall three female dancers, one male dancer and a male musician with a barbiton appear. They are placed between small trees filled with birds. On the right wall a similar scene is shown. On the entry wall two youths jump down from their horses. They may be apobates or a reference to the Dioscuri as intermediaries between the earthly life and the afterlife.[4]

The similarities between the frescoes in the Tomb of the Triclinium and Tomb 5513 (also in the Necropolis of Monterozzi) led Steingraber to conclude that they were the products of the same workshop. The strong influence of red-figure Attic vase painting has convinced some experts that the artist who decorated the tomb was a Greek metic.[4]


  1. ^ "Corneto", Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., 1878.
  2. ^ a b c d Haynes, Sybille (2005). Etruscan Civilization: A Cultural History. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-89236-600-2.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d Steingräber, Stephan (2006). Abundance of Life: Etruscan Wall Painting. Los Angeles, California: Getty Publications. pp. 134–139. ISBN 978-0-89236-865-5.

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Coordinates: 42°14′56″N 11°46′18″E / 42.24889°N 11.77167°E / 42.24889; 11.77167