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Weight in the Shape of a Byzantine Empress

Date:
5th century
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Copper alloy, filled with metal
Dimensions:
5 1/2 × 2 11/16 × 1 3/4 in., 3.5 lb. (13.9 × 6.9 × 4.5 cm, 1574g)
Classification:
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
Bequest of Adra M. Newell, 1966
Accession Number:
67.154.1
  • Description

    Portraits busts of Byzantine empresses were used for weights, thereby encouraging the public's belief in the state's ability to ensure fair and prosperous trade. The women here, whose elaborate jewels represented the wealth of the state, hold a mappa, an official symbol of imperial authority, or a scroll, reflecting the state's emphasis on learning.

  • Provenance

    Adra M. Newell, New York (until 1967)

  • See also
    What
    In the Museum
468718:3

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