The Human Touch

Making Art | Leaving Traces

The grip of death

The messenger god Hermes, with winged heels, takes a deceased woman by the hand, and leads her to the underworld. She is Myrrhine, first priestess of the Temple of Athena Nike, her importance conveyed by the inscription of her name, her heroic size, and Hermes’s smile. The family group may be the living, bidding her farewell, or dead relatives waiting for her in the afterlife. 

Plaster cast of a funerary monument to Myrrhine in the shape of a lekythos (vase)
Plaster, 164 x 61.3 x 61.8 cm
Original: later 5th century BCE | Plaster cast: 19th–20th century CE
Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge
No. 203

Section: Five

The grip of death
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