Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rock Crystal Statuette of a Dolphin

3rd–5th century
Roman or Byzantine
Rock crystal
Overall: 2 1/16 x 6 5/16 x 1 1/4 in. (5.2 x 16.1 x 3.2 cm)
Lapidary Work-Crystal
Credit Line:
Bequest of Ada Small Moore, 1955
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
This rock crystal carving found in a cistern in Carthage (now in Tunisia, North Africa) demonstrates the quality of the arts of that great city as the Roman world became Byzantine. The Roman naturalist Pliny, describing its beauty, believed crystal to come from snow. It was thought to protect against kidney ailments and other diseases.
Mrs. William H. Moore, Potomac (until 1955)
Carton, Louis Benjamin Charles. "Objets de Cristal de Roche Decouverts a Carthage." Comptes Rendus des Seances de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres 5 (1915). no. 5, p. 340.

Miner, Dorothy, ed. Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1947. no. 538, p. 111, pl. LXXV.

Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 4, pp. 20-1, 251.

Bühler, Hans-Peter. Antike Gefässe aus Edelsteinen. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1973. no. 115, p. 79.

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