Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Weight with Feline Finials
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Roman period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
4.7 x 17.5 x 3.1 cm (1 7/8 x 6 7/8 x 1 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron, nickel, silver, antimony, arsenic
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is dark green with areas of lighter green and red. There is a 1-cm groove cut into the top of one of the lion heads. It cuts through the patina and is modern; it may be a test cut or sampling site. Some modern wax residue is present.

The object is a solid cast. The lions’ ears, the fine ribbing details under the lions, and those adjacent to the nodes were probably formed directly in the wax model. The sharp edge and slight distortion in the metal at the hole between the lions indicate it was drilled in the metal. Iron corrosion products in the hole must relate to an iron implement that went through the hole. One of the four lion ears is much smaller than the others, possibly due to a casting problem.

Henry Lie (submitted 2011)


Recorded Ownership History
[Bernheimer's Antique Arts, Cambridge, MA] (by 1965), sold; to the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University 1965-2012), 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
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The upper terminal of the weight is made up of the foreparts of two addorsed animals, probably feline (1). They have small pointed ears and large incised, frog-like mouths. One has a vertical line incised down its brow next to its left ear. The forepaws are not indicated except by general shape. There is a pointed knob between the two heads. The area of their joined bodies, which is flat on each side, is pierced by a circular drilled suspension hole. The circular-sectioned shaft is decorated by thin raised lines in pairs at four spots. There is a large bulbous ring in the center and a pointed globular knob at the bottom terminal of the shaft. The weight may have been used on a plumb line, with surveying equipment, or perhaps for a ship's sounding line (2).


1. An almost identical can be seen in Ars Antiqua AG: Lagerkatalog 4 (Lucern), Dec. 1969, lot. 5, although it is there described as possibly a clapper, perhaps for a large bell. See also A. de Ridder, Les bronzes antiques du Louvre 2: Les instruments (Paris, 1915) no. 3489, pl. 118.

2. For an example of a plumb-weight from a Roman context, see Piccoli bronzi del Real museo borbonico (Naples, 1858) table 2, esp. no. 6.

Lisa M. Anderson

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), M140, p. 194 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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