Sarcophagus of Psyche
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Sarcophagus of Psyche

Sarcophagus of Psyche, from Alyscamps, marble, end of 2nd century. Psyche appears on the right, draped in cloth and with butterfly wings (psyche in Greek means both soul and butterfly). She is conducted by Cupid towards the left side of the sarcophagus, where two winged cupids wait. The seated one holds a torch downward, symbolizing death, and the other stands, holding a garland. In this context Psyche is less the mortal girl loved by Cupid than the symbol of the soul of the deceased, escaping the body after death like a butterfly leaves its cocoon. Musee de l'Arles Antique, Arles, France.