Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Ingot with Hittite hieroglyphs

Period:
Hittite Empire
Date:
ca. 14th–13th century B.C.
Geography:
Central Anatolia
Culture:
Hittite
Medium:
Silver
Dimensions:
3.07 x 3.54 in. (7.8 x 8.99 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Implements-Inscribed
Credit Line:
Gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.281.16
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 406
Hittite scribes wrote both in cuneiform script (borrowed from Mesopotamia) and in hieroglyphs, a local development that continued after the end of the Hittite empire into the Neo-Hittite kingdoms. Unfortunately, the hieroglyphs on this silver ingot are not legible, so the writing cannot help us determine the ingot's function.

It has been suggested that the ingot belonged to a silversmith, who might have used it to make or repair jewelry, sculpture, or drinking vessels or other ceremonial containers, such as the stag-headed cup (MMA 1989.281.10) . On the other hand, we know that in the earlier Assyrian Trading Colony period specific weights of Anatolian silver were traded for the goods imported from Assyria. Perhaps this ingot, or pieces from it, were weighed and used as currency in Hittite times, since coins as we know them were only invented in the mid-seventh century B.C.
[By 1965, Egon Beckenbauer, Munich]; by 1966, collection of Norbert Schimmel, New York; from 1983, on loan to the Museum by Norbert Schimmel (L.1983.119.8); acquired by the Museum in 1989, gift of Norbert Schimmel Trust.

“Ancient Art. The Norbert Schimmel Collection,” Cleveland Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1974-1977.

“Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection New York,” Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, 1978-1979.

“Ancient Art: Gifts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 4, 1991–September 15, 1991.

Muscarella, Oscar W., ed. 1974. Ancient Art: The Norbert Schimmel Collection. Mainz: Philipp Von Zabern, no. 128.

"Learning." The New Yorker, March 29, 1976.

Settgast, Jürgen, ed. 1978. Von Troja bis Amarna: The Norbert Schimmel Collection New York. Mainz: Philipp Von Zabern, no. 139.

Muscarella, Oscar W. 1992. "Ingot inscribed with Hittite hieroglyphs." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49 (4), Ancient Art: Gifts from the Norbert Schimmel Collection (Spring 1992), no. 17, p. 55.

Emre, Kutlu and Aykut Çinaroglu. 1993. “A Group of Metal Hittite Vessels from Kinik-Kastamonu.” In Aspects of Art and Iconography: Anatolia and its Neighbors. Studies in Honor of Nimet Özgüç, edited by Machteld J. Mellink, Edith Porada, and Tahsin Özgüç. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Basimevi, p. 702.
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