Fritz Bürki & Son (Zurich, Switzerland), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1988.
Not currently on view
Weight with Scales
Eastern Mediterranean (Place Created)
2nd century A.D.
6.6 × 5.6 × 1.1 cm, 0.2138 kg (2 5/8 × 2 3/16 × 7/16 in., 0.4713 lb.)
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
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.
True, Marion, and Kenneth Hamma, eds. A Passion For Antiquities. Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, exh. cat. (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994), p. 279, cat. no. 142.
"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 69.