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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.1.7
Title
Die
Classification
Recreational Artifacts
Work Type
game piece
Date
1st-4th century
Period
Roman Imperial period
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/178272
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Ivory
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
1.4 x 1.3 cm (9/16 x 1/2 in.)
Provenance
Walton Brooks McDaniel, New Jersey (?-1943/46), gift; to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1943/46-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Note: Walton Brooks McDaniel gave a portion of his collection to the Department of the Classics in 1943 and the rest in 1946. The Collection is named for his late wife, Alice Corinne McDaniel.
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
2012.1.7
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Six-sided ivory die. The numbers on each side are indicated by patterns with incised concentric circles and a central dot. Intact, some wear at the corners.
Commentary
LIVE LIKE A ROMAN: DAILY LIFE OBJECT COLLECTION

Cubical six-sided dice in bone and ivory, which were used as games as well as for casting lots, are common throughout the Greco-Roman world from at least the seventh century BCE. Most bone dice are small in size, due to the dimensional limitations of the material. On a cubical dice, values were marked with dots, drilled holes that could be filled with colored paste, or ring and dot motifs, as in this case. Double ring and dot motifs are by far the most common. The values were arranged so that opposite faces total seven (6-1, 5-2, 4-3). Dice are rarely perfectly cubical in shape, and values are often not regularly spaced.
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 Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), BI54, p. 146 [J. A. Lerner]

Exhibition History

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 02/13/2015

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