Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Rock crystal Statuette of a Lion

3rd–4th century
Roman or Byzantine
Rock crystal
Overall: 1 1/2 x 2 1/8 x 1 in. (3.8 x 5.4 x 2.5 cm)
Lapidary Work-Crystal
Credit Line:
Bequest of Ada Small Moore, 1955
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
A groove on the bottom suggests that this tiny lion was formerly mounted onto another object, possibly a scepter.

Five rock crystal works found in a cistern in Carthage (now in Tunisia, North Africa) demonstrate the quality of the arts of that great city as the Roman world became Byzantine. The Roman naturalist Pliny, describing its beauty, believed crystal to come from snow. It was thought to protect against kidney ailments and other diseases.
Mrs. William H. Moore, Potomac (until 1955)
Carton, Louis Benjamin Charles. "Objets de Cristal de Roche Decouverts a Carthage." Comptes Rendus des Seances de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres 5 (1915). no. 4, p. 339.

Miner, Dorothy, ed. Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1947. no. 537, p. 111, pl. LXXV.

Bühler, Hans-Peter. Antike Gefässe aus Edelsteinen. Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1973. no. 115, p. 79.

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