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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.1.54
Title
Bone/Ivory Stylus
Classification
Artists' Tools
Work Type
artist's tool
Date
1st-4th century
Period
Roman Imperial period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/178128
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bone
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
9.98 cm (3 15/16 in.)
Provenance
The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (before 1970-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
2012
Object Number
2012.1.54
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Carved and polished bone stylus. The pointed end is conical; one side of the rounded end is flat. The shaft, round in section, has a raised ridge at approximately the spot where it would have been held for writing; it tapers toward each end.
Commentary
A stylus of this type would have been used to write on a Roman tablet; tablets were made of wood with a wax-covered surface. The wax surface made the tablet reusable, and the rounded end of the stylus could be used for "erasing" text.
Publication History

John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), BI21, p. 133 [J. A. Lerner]

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