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Byzantine Bronze Weight - Empress w/ Crown

Near East / Holy Land, Byzantine Empire, probably earlier in the period, ca. 5th to 7th century CE. An absolutely gorgeous cast bronze weight in the form of an empress. Unlike many similar examples, which are busts, this piece depicts the full body of the woman. She stands, facing the viewer, dressed in a long, form-fitting gown. She wears a tall crown, which has an integral loop at its back for attachment to a steelyard weight. Her hair is depicted in three twisted braids, one hanging down each shoulder and one hanging down her back. She holds her arms out, bent at the elbow, each holding something round with a tall, flat crest - perhaps meant to signify a mappa, a symbol of Byzantine royal authority. Empresses were common steelyard weights in the Byzantine Empire, meant to represent trustworthiness, as if the weight was backed by the crown. This weight has aged to have a very pretty mottled pale teal and bright blue patina. Size: 1.75" W x 5" H (4.4 cm x 12.7 cm); 5.65" H (14.4 cm) on included custom stand.

See two similar steelyard weights at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/466060 and https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/468718

Condition: Intact, with excellent remaining detail. Beautiful patina!

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

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