Tomb relief of a pork butcher


In the centre of the relief, a pork butcher's wares are depicted hanging neatly on a rack: Pig's head, offal, sow's udder, pig's bones, a leg and a piece of rib. On the right edge of the picture, a cleaver, a weighing pan and a quick balance speak for correct and professional work in the butcher's shop. The master himself stands at his chopping block and cuts up a piece of ribs. Leftover meat is disposed of in the bowl in front of him. Opposite him, his wife is enthroned on a high armchair, taking stock of business in a book with wax tablets. While the man is wearing comfortable work clothes, consisting of a short-sleeved tunic and boots, the woman is wearing elegant robes and an elegant turban of plaited plaits, as was fashionable at the time. The relief was probably originally attached to the façade of a small tomb that stood along one of Rome's arterial roads. This is indicated by the two slits on the side, which served to ventilate the burial chamber. Roman tomb reliefs depicting professions were popular memorials from the 2nd century AD onwards and tell of honest work, social success and social participation.

Material & Technique
c. 140/150 CE
Inventory number
Hm 418