Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Steelyard Weight with a Bust of a Byzantine Empress and a Hook

Date:
400–450
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Copper alloy, filled with lead, brass hook
Dimensions:
9 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 2 13/16 in., 12.5 lb. (24.2 × 11.5 × 7.1 cm, 5664g) Other (Hook): 8 7/8 × 3 × 1 1/4 × 1/4 in., 0.4 lb. (22.6 × 7.6 × 3.2 × 0.7 cm, 176g)
Classification:
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gifts of J. Pierpont Morgan, Mrs. Robert J. Levy, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt, George Blumenthal, Coudert Brothers and Mrs. Lucy W. Drexel, by exchange; Bequest of George Blumenthal and Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, by exchange; and Rogers Fund, 1980
Accession Number:
1980.416a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
Steelyard weights often took the shape of busts of Byzantine empresses. This unusually detailed image may depict an empress of the Theodosian dynasty, which ruled from 379 to 450. The weight—itself about five pounds, or seven Byzantine litrae—would have been used for heavier goods.
George Zacos, Basel, Switzerland (sold 1980)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Eleventh Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1980, through June 30, 1981." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 111 (1981). p. 42.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions, 1980-1981 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1981). p. 19.

Kleinbauer, Walter Eugene. "Recent Major Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums." Gesta 21, no. 1 (1982). p. 75, fig. 2.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983. no. 7, p. 340.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 14, p. 27.

Pushkin Museum and State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki: Iz sobraniĭ muze︠i︡a Metropoliten, Nʹ︠i︡u Ĭork i Khudozhestvennogo Instituta, Chikago. Moscow: Pushkin Museum, 1990. no. 7, pp. 10, 19, fig. 8.

State Hermitage Museum. Dekorativno-prikladnoe iskusstvo ot pozdneĭ antichnosti do pozdneĭ gotiki. St. Petersburg: State Hermitage Museum, 1990. no. 7, pp. 22-23.

Franken, Norbert. "Aequipondia: Figürliche Laufgewichte römischer und frühbyzantinischer Schnellwaagen." PhD diss., Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 1994. no. CA58, p. 179, pl. 94.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, edited by Kathleen Howard. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 7, p. 374.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 31, pp. 26–27.

Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 16.

McClanan, Anne. Representations of Early Byzantine Empresses: Image and Empire. The New Middle Ages. New York, 2002. pp. 41-45, fig. 2.13.

Kalavrezou, Ioli. Byzantine Women and their World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2003. pp. 53-56.

Little, Charles T., ed. Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture. New York, New Haven, and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. no. 67, pp. 162-164.

Wixom, William D. "Set in Stone. New York." The Burlington Magazine 148, no. 1245 (December 2006). p. 877.

Wixom, William. "Exhibition Review: Set in Stone, New York." The Burlington Magazine 148, no. 1245 (December 2006). pp. 876-77.



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