The tomb has a short corridor, with cells to the sieds, leading into the main room. The main room has three typical Etruscan trapezoid doors leading into burial chambers. The beds are of almost monumental size. The tomb got its name from the fact that hundreds of vases, mostly from Greece, were found in it.
The tomb consists of a series of furniture carved in the rock. The access was through a stepped passage called a Dromos leading into the tomb that has three parts. Along the back walls and dug into the tuff rock, are five chairs. the chairs had backrests, footrests and side bolsters.
They were there to accommodate five terracotta figurines, about 50 cm high, interpreted as the ancestors who welcome in the afterlife the descending tomb owners. Two of these small statues are preserved in the British Museum in London, while one is in the Capitoline Museums in Rome; the other two were irreparably damaged at the time of discovery. Seats and figurines once faced two “mensae” (platforms) that are no longer visible. Two more ornamental pieces of this room are now lost, but were documented in the nineteenth century: two thrones with backrests, designed to accommodate the couple owner of the monument. Opposite this, on the entrance wall at the door side, there is an altar for libations and a small table. The burial chamber opens down the hall: larger than the side rooms, the purpose of this room was to accommodate the couple owning the tomb
It features a short Dromos and two small side rooms and has a large longitudinal chamber with platform ledges and two polygonal columns supporting capitals in the Aeolic order. The flat roof is a stone reproduction of the wooden beams and thatch structure used in the homes of the living. Beyond the back wall are the three burial chambers, with small windows between the doors and two ledges in each of the chambers.
Stele with a soldier taking a kantharos from his attendant
Stele with a soldier and two girls
Although painting was one of the most celebrated arts of ancient Greece, extant original works of this fragile craft are extremely rare. A group of six painted limestone funerary monuments from Alexandria are exceptionally well preserved survivals of Greek painting from the fourth and third centuries B.C. These monuments—each in the form of a Greek stele with a large recessed painted panel.
Greek painters of the Classical and early Hellenistic periodsdeveloped revolutionary methods of representation that are fundamental to the Western pictorial tradition, such as three-dimensional perspective, the use of light and shade to render form, and trompe l’oeil realism. These stylistic developments were intimately related to Greek advances in the materials and techniques of painting.
The Tomb of the Shields and Chairs is one of the most elaborate in the Banditaccia necropolis. Sculptors carved out of the tufa bedrock six beds and two high-backed chairs with footstools, as well as door frames and ceiling beams, in imitation of the wooden furniture and timber architecture of Archaic Etruscan homes. Based on evidence from other tombs, the Etruscans probably placed terracotta figures of the deceased on the chairs. Reliefs of 14 shields adorn the walls. The Etruscans’ temples no longer stand because they constructed them of wood and mud brick, but their grand subterranean tombs are as permanent as the bedrock itself. Terracotta statues of the deceased probably “sat” in the chairs cut out of the bedrock of this subterranean tomb chamber. The tomb’s plan follows that of a typical Etruscan house.