Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Wooden Box with Bronze Balance Scale

Date:
500–600
Geography:
Made in Byzantine Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Wooden box and copper alloy scale
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 5/16 x 9 1/8 x 3 9/16 in. (3.3 x 23.2 x 9.1 cm) Scale set up on mount c-e: 6 7/8 x 8 7/16 x 2 in. (17.4 x 21.4 x 5.1 cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Miscellany
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1914
Accession Number:
14.2.2a-e
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Scales such as these were used throughout the Byzantine world to measure money and other lightweight objects. According to Byzantine law, the suspension cord of the scales was to be held by two fingers of one hand, with the other fingers straight to ensure that no undue pressure was placed on the scales. The wooden storage container protected the delicate balance of the mechanism.
[ Maurice Nahman, Cairo (sold 1914)]
New York. The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection," May 1–October 18, 2015.

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