© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1978.495.114
Title
Hairpin with Decorated Top
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Work Type
needle
Date
300-400 CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Period
Roman Imperial period, Late
Culture
Roman
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/174358
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bone
Technique
Carved
Dimensions
9.3 cm (3 11/16 in.)
Provenance
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, transfer; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1978.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Accession Year
1978
Object Number
1978.495.114
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This carved, bone hairpin is in two pieces--a bulbous head and tapered shaft. Incised geometric designs cover the surface. On the shaft, are a series of three rings and a cross hatch of oblique lines. On the head, are a pattern of crosshatch and a series of three bands, forming a spiral pattern.
Commentary
Hairpins such as this were used by women of the elite classes to secure their elaborate coiffures. Pins were made of different materials including bone, ivory, and precious metals and were often decorated with elaborate designs including images of women with intricate hairstyles, the goddess Aphrodite, or Isis--both figures associated with women (1). Other examples, such as this, displayed decorative motifs.

Notes:
1. For a hairpin fragment displaying the elaborate hairstyle for which it was designed see an example in Dumbarton Oaks Collection, inv. 47.1, in Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and their World (Cambridge: Harvard University Art Museums, 2003). p. 258-259, no. 149.
Publication History

Ioli Kalavrezou, Byzantine Women and Their World, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2003), p. 259/fig. 151

Exhibition History

Byzantine Women and Their World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/25/2002 - 04/28/2003

Subjects and Contexts

Roman Domestic Art

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or 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