Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Platter with a Fish

4th–5th century
Late Roman
Bronze, silver overlaid
Overall: 7/8 x 15 1/16 x 7 3/16 in. (2.2 x 38.2 x 18.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1947
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
In his great encyclopedia, the first-century Roman writer Pliny reports that tin plating, as seen on this platter, was invented by the Gauls. It was no doubt employed in this case to emulate silver. Numerous Gallic platters, both silver and tinned, with a fish engraved in the center still survive. The fish may have had Christian significance, but it is just as likely that it was strictly a decorative motif.
Augustin Lambert, Paris (sold 1930); [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (1930-1947)]
Chappée, Julien. "Plat en cuivre – Chandelier." Revue de l'art chrétien, 5th ser., 57, no. 3 (1907). pp. 265–66, ill.

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