Funerary relief of Palmyra

Funerary relief
Palmyra (Syria)
Roman Empire, 2nd cent. CE
Limestone ; 41 x 49 cm
Inv. O.3633

The funerary monuments of Palmyrene families were furnished with niches, each of which was meant to hold the mortal remains of a body. Each compartment was sealed with a plaque bearing a shoulder-length portrait of the deceased and an inscription specifying his or her name and genealogy.

This relief represents Idi'atee, the daughter of Si(o)na. Her attire combines Graeco-Roman and local traditions. Above her long-sleeved tunic, she is wearing a cloak fastened with a fibula adorned with a rosette. Her headgear, consisting of a turban and a diadem decorated with blank metopes, is in keeping with local practice. At neck level, her right hand clasps a veil covering her head and shoulders.

Other monuments enable us to complete her ancestry: her grandfather, Haira, is known from the funerary relief of her father, Si(o)na. Another Idi'atee, attested by a bust now in Philadelphia, must have belonged to a different branch of the family.


Discover this masterpiece in the Near East gallery, on the online museum catalogue Carmentis and in the book Masterpieces of the Cinquantenaire Museum, Ludion, 2015.