Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bronze astragalus (knucklebone)

Date:
ca. 3rd century B.C.–2nd century A.D.
Culture:
Greek or Roman
Medium:
Bronze
Dimensions:
length 1in. (2.6cm)
Classification:
Bronzes
Credit Line:
Museum Accession
Accession Number:
X.229
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 171
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.
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