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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Instrument with Ring Terminal
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Key (?)
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
2nd-6th century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Antioch (Syria)
Find Spot: Middle East, Türkiye (Turkey)
Roman Imperial period, Late, to Early Byzantine
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
8.6 x 1 cm, 0.3 cm (3 3/8 x 3/8 in., 1/8 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The surface is pitted and black. The object is intact. The implement was cast and hot worked. The holes were punched.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Excavated from Antioch (no. C447-U767) (Turkey, Hatay) by the Syrian Department of Antiquities (later the Hatay government) and the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity, (1935-1939), dispersed; to Fogg Art Museum, 1940.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The round shaft of this instrument is slightly bent. There is a hole just before its oval tip. A round, flat disc with a large eyelet surmounts the shaft. The exact function of the object is unclear, although comparable objects are known (1). The eyelet may indicate the instrument was part of a set of other tools held on a ring with a set of toilet instruments (2).

1. Compare E. Künzl, Medizinische Instrumente aus Sepulkralfunden der römischen Kaiserzeit (Cologne, 1983) 99, fig. 79 (described as a spoon probe); and Los bronces romanos en España, exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Palacio de Velazquez (Madrid, 1990) 302-303, nos. 264-65 (described as a perfume remover).

2. Compare a toilet instrument set in the British Museum, inv. no. 1850,0117.46, held together by a similar ringed implement; see H. B. Walters, Catalogue of the Bronzes in the British Museum: Greek, Roman and Etruscan (London, 1899) 3117, no. 2394.

David Smart

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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