Large Weight

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Large weight 8th–12th centuries, Egypt Green glass Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1964.2.14

Large weight

This double-stamped glass weight is of very large size. It was likely used for weighing a substantial quantity of metal currency or various commodities sold in retail transactions. The irregular rectangle shape is somewhat unusual for weights of this heft, as pound weights (ratl) were more commonly formed in the shape of rings, making them more graspable or suspendable. Metal weights were far more common than glass weights for measuring materials in bulk. While weighing coins was a widespread practice across the medieval Islamic world, the use of glass in particular seems to have started in Egypt.

Bibliography: Miles 1951a; Morton 1985; Ettinghausen 1939; Bates 1993; 1981; and Balog 1981.

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