Weight in the Shape of a Byzantine Empress


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301

Portraits busts of Byzantine empresses were used for weights, thereby encouraging the public's belief in the state's ability to ensure fair and prosperous trade. The women here, whose elaborate jewels represented the wealth of the state, hold a mappa, an official symbol of imperial authority, or a scroll, reflecting the state's emphasis on learning.

Weight in the Shape of a Byzantine Empress, Copper alloy, Byzantine

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