The J. Paul Getty Museum

Weight with Elephant

Object Details

Title:

Weight with Elephant

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

Greek (Seleucid)

Place:

Asia Minor (Place Created)

Date:

second half of 3rd century B.C.

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

96.AC.142

Dimensions:

11.2 × 11.5 × 0.8 cm, 0.5345 kg (4 7/16 × 4 1/2 × 5/16 in., 1.1784 lb.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

See more

See less

Object Description

An Indian elephant moves to the left on this Seleucid bronze weight. An inverted anchor, a frequent Seleucid dynastic emblem, appears in very low relief in front of the elephant. The Greek inscriptions above and below the animal state that this object is an official weight from the Seleucid Empire or dynasty and that it weighs a mina, a standard unit of measure for the Greeks in the 200s B.C. Cities kept official weights as controls against which the thousands of weights used daily in commercial transactions could be calibrated. The careful detailed decoration, the form of the letters in the inscription, and the bronze material all date this weight to relatively early in Seleucid rule. 

The back of the weight is covered with a net pattern and a raised rectangular area in the center shows that the weight was adjusted. Normally, flat plaque weights, such as this one, were laid in the pan of a simple balance scale. This weight, however, has a hole pierced in the center top, evidently converting it for suspension.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1988

Fritz Bürki (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
Hellenistic Art from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 25 to August 15, 2001)
  • Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum, California State University, San Bernardino, January 25 to August 15, 2001
Bibliography
Bibliography

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), pp. 200-1, cat. no. 94.

Bodel, John, and Stephen Tracy. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist (New York: American Academy in Rome, 1997), p. 10.

"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 65.