Bronze Lion Weight

Near Eastern (Persian)

 replica: from the Louvre, Paris 

gift of: the Nasser Family

date of the original: 648-330 BC 

provenance of the original: Susa, Iran

description: Weight in the shape of a lion with a handle on its back. Resin reduced-scale replica; bronze original. Height 11 cm, width 18.5 cm, depth 8.5 cm.

Prior to the invention of coinage (see: Original Coinage), commerce involved the exchange of materials like metal scraps or ingots. Over time, several cultures of the ancient Near East began to utilize standardized metal weights.

The Assyrians made their weights in the form of reclining lions to symbolize strength and power. The Persians later imitated the Assyrian lion weights. This reduced model is from an original made on the occasion of the festival of Persepolis, to be offered as a gift to notable persons. (The original weighs 121 kg.)