Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Glass astragal (knucklebone)

Period:
Hellenistic
Date:
3rd–2nd century B.C.
Culture:
Greek
Medium:
Glass; cast in a two-part mold
Dimensions:
Overall: 5/8 x 3/8 x 5/16 in. (1.6 x 1 x 0.8 cm)
Classification:
Glass
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.194.565
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 156
Translucent blue green.
Shaped like the knucklebone of a sheep or goat. Solid with continuous mold seam along sides and ends.
Intact; pinprick bubbles, dulling and patches of soil encrustation.

In antiquity, one of the most popular games of chance was played with astragaloi, knucklebones of sheep and goats. They could be used like dice or like jacks, thrown in the air and caught on the back of the hand. Knucklebones have been found in tombs where they must have been intended to help the deceased while away endless time.
Froehner, Wilhelm. 1903. Collection Julien Gréau. Verrerie antique, émaillerie et poterie appartenant à M. John Pierpont Morgan no. 871, p. 124, pl. 152, Paris.

McClees, Helen and Christine Alexander. 1933. The Daily Life of the Greeks and Romans: As Illustrated in the Classical Collections, 5th ed. pp. 74, 76, fig. 93, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

McClees, Helen and Christine Alexander. 1941. The Daily Life of the Greeks and Romans: As Illustrated in the Classical Collections, 5th ed. pp. 74, 76, fig. 93, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Auth, Susan H. 1976. Ancient glass at the Newark Museum from the Eugene Schaefer Collection of antiquities. no. 212, Newark: Newark Museum.

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Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C. Medium: Glass Accession: 17.194.567 On view in:Gallery 156

Glass astragal (knucklebone)

Date: 3rd–2nd century B.C. Medium: Glass Accession: 17.194.568 On view in:Gallery 156