Identification and Creation
Object Number
1920.44.50
Title
Lid or Bell
Other Titles
Alternate Title: former titles: egg-shaped jug/ Small Bell
Classification
Tools and Equipment
Date
mid 1st millennium BCE-mid 1st millennium CE
Places
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Period
Roman period
Culture
Graeco-Roman
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Bronze
Technique
Cast, lost-wax process
Dimensions
2.6 x 3.5 x 3.5 cm (1 x 1 3/8 x 1 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Bronze:
Cu, 78.23; Sn, 18.57; Pb, 1.8; Zn, 0.09; Fe, 0.14; Ni, 0.53; Ag, 0.14; Sb, 0.19; As, 0.31; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, less than 0.005; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001

J. Riederer

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, silver, antimony

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: This object was cast by the lost-wax process. Because the top is thicker-walled than the sides, it looks as if metal had pooled at the bottom of the upturned shape. This probably accounts for the fact that the object does not produce a ring. Much of the relief decoration revealed by x-radiography is hidden by surface accretions, although traces of the textured bands are visible on the cleaned portions of the outer surface. Cone-shaped elements stand proud of the inner surface and in some cases protrude beyond the bottom edge of the rim, again more easily visible in the x-radiographs. These could be sprue-ends, that is, the remains of the casting process, but the small, regular intervals between them and the size of the object suggest that they served a decorative or functional purpose. Thick layers of green and red corrosion cover most of the surface.


Francesca G. Bewer

Provenance
Miss Elizabeth Gaskell Norton, Boston, MA and Miss Margaret Norton, Cambridge, MA (by 1920), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1920.

Note: The Misses Norton were daughters of Charles Elliot Norton (1827-1908).
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Misses Norton
Accession Year
1920
Object Number
1920.44.50
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The object is hemispherical, with remains of a handle on the top and relief decoration covering the outer surface. Details are difficult to discern, but there appear to be several bands of intricate decorative patterns, including braiding and honeycomb or petals. The rim is interrupted at regular intervals with short cone-shaped elements of unclear purpose. The thickening on the interior top and the lack of a hole or attachment for a clapper would be unusual for a bell. It is more likely that the piece is a lid or part of a fitting.


Alexandra C. Villing

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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 am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu