- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Tools and Equipment
- Work Type
- 1st-5th century CE
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Rome (Latium)
- Roman period
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Copper alloy
- 16 x 0.5 cm (6 5/16 x 3/16 in.)
- Technical Details
Technical Observations: The patina is green and brown. The object appears to be intact. The needle was made from a cast rod hammered into shape, probably with annealing.
Carol Snow (submitted 2002)
- 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
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This large needle tapers to a thin, dull point at one end. A series of incisions appear below and above a thin, elongated eye. The smooth shaft expands slightly near the eye (1). Ancient needles came in a variety of forms and were used for sewing a range of materials, from fine cloth to thick leather (2). Needles are also sometimes found as part of ancient medical instrument kits (3).
1. A very similar, although slightly shorter, needle was published as part of a Swiss collection; see N. Rauch, Instruments de chirurgie gréco-romains (Lausanne, 1961) 13 and 18, no. 67.
2. P. M. Allison, The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii 3: The Finds (Oxford, 2006) 32-33.
3. 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.
- Subjects and Contexts
Roman Domestic Art
- Related Works
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