The Marbles - Area 12 - Egyptian alabaster (lapis onyx)

Panel 107 - Location

Egyptian onyx, one of the most prized alabasters of antiquity, was used from a very early period both for furnishings and as an architectural decoration for various types of buildings, in particular luxurious residences.

Panel 107 - Figure 1Sample of Egyptian alabaster from the Podesti Collection
(Pensabene P., Bruno M. 1998)
Panel 107 - Figure 2Sample of Egyptian alabaster from the Podesti Collection
(Pensabene P., Bruno M. 1998)

Lucan provides a vivid description of the sumptuous palace of Cleopatra, in whose floors onyx was used in abundance.

Panel 107 - Figure 3Rome, Antiquarium of Via Lucrezia Romana. Basin in Egyptian alabaster from the suburban area of Rome
(Bruno M. 2018)

Egyptian alabaster is often depicted in Roman wall paintings, as in the Casa dei Grifi on the Palatine, showing that it was used for revetment panels; the quarried blocks on display here must have been destined for the production of such panels.

Panel 107 - Figure 4Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano. Cinerary urn in Egyptian alabaster from Torre Gaia
(Bruno M. 2015)
Panel 107 - Figure 5Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa. Floor in Egyptian alabaster from a bedroom in the Valle di Tempe sector
(Guidobaldi 1994)

See also: