Robert Haber (New York, New York), sold to Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, 1992.
Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 216, Roman Treasury
Rotary Key with Horse-Head Handle
2nd century A.D.
Bronze; Handle with iron shaft and bit
5.5 × 15.6 × 2.7 cm (2 3/16 × 6 1/8 × 1 1/16 in.)
Gift of Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman
The head of a horse with its ears flattened and mane swept back as if galloping decorates the end of this Roman key. Heads of horses, as well as lions, panthers, and bears, were frequently used as Roman key handles. The horse's head and the floral element that covers the join to the shaft are cast in bronze. The shaft of the key and the intricate eight-slotted bit are forged from iron. The lock was invented in the
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. 306, cat. no. 159.
"Museum Acquisitions Between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1998." The Report of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997-98), p. 66.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 192.