Bronze hand of a boxer

Period: Imperial

Date: 1st–2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); width 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm); length 7 11/16 in. (19.5 cm)

Classification: Bronzes

Credit Line: Gift of the Safani family, in honor of Edward Safani, 2001

Accession Number: 2001.219


The hand is clad in a caestus (boxing glove), comprising a semi-cylindrical strip and a projecting spike, tied with cords running from the wrist. Although Roman boxers are represented on statues, mosaics, terracotta plaques and lamps, and bronze figurines, few objects show the actual boxing glove with such clarity of detail as the present piece. The hand is probably not a fragment of a larger composition– it was, perhaps, a votive, dedicated by a boxer on his retirement.