Roman Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 137

This piece is remarkable for its rich inlays. Both sides of each blade are decorated with three registers of figures. Whoever created the design clearly had a sense of humor; when the shears are closed, the top register brings a dog face-to-face with a cat on one side and a lion on the other.

The combination of atypical iconography (the dogs and lions or the plants at the base of the blades) and rather loose interpretations of Egyptian elements and figural style marks the shears as being in an "Egyptianizing" rather than an actual Egyptian style. Perhaps they served a ritual function at an Isis sanctuary at ancient Trebizond on the Black Sea, the site where they are said to have been found.

Shears, Bronze or copper alloy, silver, black copper (?)

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