Byzantine / Steelyard Weight and Hook / first half of 5th centuryByzantine
Steelyard Weight and Hook
first half of 5th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantine
Title: Steelyard Weight and Hook
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 400
Creation End Date: 450
Creation Date: first half of 5th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Copper alloy filled with lead, brass hook
Dimensions: 9 1/4 x 4 5/16 in. (23.5 x 11 cm)

This Byzantine steelyard weight dates from the first half of the fifth century. The bronze hook would allow it to be suspended from and moved along a ruled steelyard to measure the weight of a product hung from the opposite end. Empress busts such as this, though usually not so fine, were often used as weights; this one has been filled with lead and driven with several nails to make it weigh exactly seven Byzantine litrae, or 5.04 pounds in modern terms.

Despite the careful modeling of the face and the realistically elaborate clothing and hairstyle, this portrait is too generalized to identify more closely than as a member of the ruling Theodosian dynasty. This is not surprising, as dynastic characteristics are usually emphasized more than individual details in such pieces.

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1980.416 ab
Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, by exchange and Gifts of George Blumenthal, J. P. Morgan, Mrs. Lucy W. Drexel and Mrs. Robert J. Levy, by exchange, 1980
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1980.416ab
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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