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The California Patrons sponsored the restoration of a special Etruscan brazier and oven rake. The brazier and oven rake date back to the 4th Century BC and were used for ritual offerings to the gods during burial rites. They were found in the 19th century in the Necropolis of Vulci located in the Maremma region. The pieces have never undergone any restoration which provided a unique opportunity to examine unadulterated, original Etruscan works.

These three striking objects (brazier, boiler and oven rake) are articles from an Etruscan tomb linked to the theme of a banquet in which, in both life and the after-life, the deceased participated. The brazier is made of a low cylindrical body, which houses a large central basin (the boiler) bound by a vertical edge. The bottom is slightly concave. The handles and three attached feet are cast in bronze. The feet are shaped like a lion’s paw. This motif is relatively rare but is known to have been a decorative style employed by craftsmen in Vulci. The feline paw as well as the exquisite workmanship evidenced in the pieces appears to have originated in the ancient east. Indeed griffins and lions characterize the oriental style found in Etruscan tombs. The occurrence of such symbolic and iconographic elements helps to explain the presence of a brazier in the grave. This decoration was also used in other Etruscan bronzes of the classical and Hellenistic periods, such as candlesticks and thymiateria.

The oven rake is an elegant tool which falls into the category of accessories for the brazier. It consists of a tubular immanicatura, within which is placed a wooden handle that was meant to further extend the instrument, keeping the human hand from the The California Patrons sponsored the restoration of a special Etruscan brazier and oven rake. The brazier and oven rake date back to the 4th Century BC and were used for ritual offerings to the gods during burial rites. They were found in the 19th century in the Necropolis of Vulci located in the Maremma region. The pieces have never undergone any restoration which provided a unique opportunity to examine unadulterated, original Etruscan works. These three striking objects (brazier, boiler and oven rake) are articles from an Etruscan tomb linked to the theme of a banquet in which, in both life and the after-life, the deceased participated. The brazier is made of a low cylindrical body, which houses a large central basin (the boiler) bound by a vertical edge. The bottom is slightly concave. The handles and three attached feet are cast in bronze. The feet are shaped like a lion’s paw. This motif is relatively rare but is known to have been a decorative style employed by craftsmen in Vulci. The feline paw as well as the exquisite workmanship evidenced in the pieces appears to have Etruscan Ritual Brazier Restored by Patrons SAVE THE DATE A Double Header at The De Young May 17, 2013 • San Francisco Etruscan Boiler heat. The immanicatura is crowned by a hand which rises from the opening and then ends in a tight spiral in the palm of another hand, in this case bent at right angles in order to pick up and move coals and ashes. This inventive design makes manipulation of the burnt material possible in comfort and safety.

Chiara Omodei Zorini of the Metal and Ceramics Restoration Laboratory served as chief restorer. The restoration started with a careful study of the technical execution of the artifacts and a campaign of radiographic investigations to identify the remains of food, plants, insects and coins present at the bottom of the plate. The pieces were cleaned both mechanically and with meticulous scalpel work. Based on what has been observed during the preliminary study of the structure, removal of the particles was performed with scalpels and a dental micro-drill. Two small original squared portions of the surface were not restored to allow further testing in the future. The entire inner surface of the boiler was treated with particular care in order to gently remove earth deposits and metals and preserve all of the residues (residuals of fabric, coins, small fragments of animals) which point to the use of the three artifacts as burial rites objects. The restored objects will be displayed in the Etruscan Museum.

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