Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1977.216.2202.19
Title
Needle or Pin
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
implement
Date
1st-5th century CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Rome (Latium)
Period
Roman period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/141462
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Copper alloy
Technique
Cast
Dimensions
7.7 x 0.7 x 0.6 cm (3 1/16 x 1/4 x 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is green with grayish encrustations from burial. There are deformations to the shaft, and the surface is poorly preserved. The pin was cast with further working by hammering to form the shaft.


Carol Snow (submitted 2002)

Provenance
Harold Wilmerding Bell, Cambridge, MA (by 1911), gift; to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1911-1977), transfer; to the Fogg Museum.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, Gift of H. W. Bell
Accession Year
1977
Object Number
1977.216.2202.19
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
One end of this pin terminates in a faceted polyhedron that is separated from the shaft by a thin, raised ring. The shaft, undecorated but bent, tapers to a sharp point.

Ancient needles came in a variety of forms and were used for sewing a range of materials, from fine cloth to thick leather (1). Needles are also found sometimes as part of ancient medical instrument kits (2).

NOTES:

1. P. M. Allison, The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii 3: The Finds (Oxford, 2006) 32-33.

2. J. S. Milne, Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times (Oxford, 1907) 74-77; and L. J. Bliquez, Roman Surgical Instruments and Other Minor Objects in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (Mainz, 1994) 53.


David Smart

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

Roman Domestic Art

Related Works

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu