Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Gold amulet case

Date:
1st–3rd century A.D.
Culture:
Roman, Cypriot
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
Other: 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
Classification:
Gold and Silver
Credit Line:
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76
Accession Number:
74.51.3319
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 176
Such tubular cases were used as pendants strung on necklaces. They contained spells written on thin sheets of gold or papyrus and were intended to protect the wearer against evil. The practice originated in Egypt but was later very popular with the Phoenicians, from whom it is likely that it was passed on not only to Carthage but also to Cyprus. Amulet cases continued to be made well into Roman times and may be seen as the prototype for Islamic amulets.
Myres, John L. 1914. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. no. 3319, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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