a lively rabbit from a vanished people

creative commons license, attribution: katie chao and ben nuessig.  wikimedia.

This Etruscan rabbit dates around 600-550 BC.  He's an alabastron, or perfume vase.  The Etruscans were the original inhabitants of what we now call Tuscany till about 500 BC, when they were assimilated by the Romans.  From then on no trace of their culture seems to have popped up in the Roman world; it's puzzling.  It's a pity, too, for Etruscan art was lively, full of images of relationships, homey things, and fondly observed natural things like this rabbit.  I have a tourist statuette from the town of Fiesole of a crude, but sprightly little Etruscan deer with a goofy smile; it's one of my favorite knickknacks.  Not all of their culture and imagery were so sunny, as this good article will point out, but I always enjoy a look at any Etruscan work.