The J. Paul Getty Museum

Weight with Scales

Object Details

Title:

Weight with Scales

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Roman

Place:

Eastern Mediterranean (Place Created)

Date:

2nd century A.D.

Medium:

Lead

Object Number:

96.AI.184

Dimensions:

6.6 × 5.6 × 1.1 cm, 0.2138 kg (2 5/8 × 2 3/16 × 7/16 in., 0.4713 lb.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Object Description

The image of a balance scale, called a libra by the Romans, decorates the front of this weight designed for use with just such an apparatus. The flat, plaque-like form of this object is typical for balance scale weights. The back of the weight depicts a footed, two-handled cup, probably a measure for grains or liquids. Scholars do not know what the two bell- or dome-shaped objects suspended above the cup represent. The use of images like the cup and scale on this object emphasize the importance of accurate measurement in the ancient world. The fairness of the weights and measures used by merchants was essential to the proper running of the economy. The weight of the piece is one quarter of a mina. Although the mina was a Greek weight unit, areas of the eastern Mediterranean region that were originally Greek but had by this time fallen under Roman rule often continued to use Greek standards.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1988

Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1988.

1988 - 1996

Barbara Fleischman and Lawrence Fleischman, American, 1925 - 1997 (New York, New York), donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 13, 1994 to January 15, 1995
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland), February 14 to April 23, 1995
Bibliography