Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Coin Weight

Object Name:
Coin weight
Attributed to Egypt
H. 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) W. 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm) D. 1 1/16 in. (2.7 cm) Wt. 0.2 oz. (5.7 g)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
Not on view
Some weights made in Byzantine-period Egypt were made of glass and stamped in Greek. Glass was a preferable medium for these weights, since they could be made relatively easily and any chips or alterations were immediately visible to the naked eye. The practice of using glass coin weights continued into the Islamic period. This weight equals one mithqal, the weight of a dinar or standard gold coin. It includes an inscription mentioning its weight, equivalent value, and the name of the governor, al-Hasan ibn al-Bahbah (r. 808–10).
Inscription: Arabic; translation (SH 2011)
Obverse center: weight, dinar (three dots) full (weight);
Obverse margin: Of what the amir al-Hasan ibn Bahbah orderd, may God preserve him.
Reverse: (at the h)ands / (…) / (…)
[ Michael Casira, Cairo, until 1908; sold to A.M. Lythgoe for MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," March 14, 2012–July 8, 2012, no. 95.

Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 95, p. 146, ill. (color).

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