Weight with Zebu

Object Details


Weight with Zebu




Greek (Seleucid)


Seleucia Pieria, Syria (Place created)


first half of 2nd century B.C.




7.2 × 7.2 × 0.5 cm, 0.128 kg (2 13/16 × 2 13/16 × 3/16 in., 0.2822 lb.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman

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Designed to be used with a simple pan balance, this weight bears an image of a zebu, a type of humped Indian breed, known today as a Brahma bull. The weight comes from Seleucia Pieria the port city of Antioch, the capital of the Seleucid Empire. The inscription "Seleukeion" above the bull gives its place of origin and indicates that this was an official weight, used as a standard against which commercial weights could be checked. The lower inscription gives the weight of the piece as a tetarton, which was a quarter of a mina, the basic unit of weight used in the Seleucid Empire at this time. A net pattern with a narrow raised border covers the back of the weight. Founded by one of Alexander the Great's generals, the Seleucid dynasty often used symbols alluding to Alexander's huge empire as a visual reminder of their origins and right to rule. Images such as the zebu and the elephant represented connections to India, the farthest reach of Alexander's empire. They were used on items produced by the Seleucid government, like coins and official weights.

- 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.

A Passion for Antiquities: Ancient Art from the Collection of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman (October 13, 1994 to April 23, 1995) (95)
  • 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

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. 202, cat. no. 95.

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.