Moneybox for votive offerings
about 180 B.C.
Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes (MFA), no. 456; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 125 (additional published references).
Overall: 9.4 x 10 x 13 cm (3 11/16 x 3 15/16 x 5 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
The box originally contained 10 bronze coins, 4 of which are Ptolemaic. A snake, coiled in a figure-8, is fixed to the top between the slot and the handle. Between the lugs for the handle is the inscription “Be of Good Health” (UGIAINE) which implies that offerings were made in hopes of good health. The top contains a large slot for inserting contributions–the box likely stood on a table in some temple or shrine to the god or goddess of health. There is a head of Hygeia applied to the front.
The handle at the top center is of the typical Greek “bucket” type, an arched rod set at its bases in two lugs rising from the cast lid. Similar lugs are on the lid and body, at the back, are transverse by their original pins to form the hinges for opening and closing.
Date unknown: G. Michaïlidis Collection, Cairo (G. Michaïlidis, Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte 55, 1958, pp. 191-197); by 1960: with Spink & Son, Ltd., 5, 6 & 7 King Street, St. James's, London, S.W. 1 (said to come from Egypt; found in region of Memphis); January 11, 1961: purchased by MFA from Spink & Son, Ltd. for $ 800.00.
Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Zoë Wilbour