Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Weight in shape of frog

Old Babylonian
ca. 2000–1600 B.C.
Diorite or andesite
12.3 x 21.8 cm (4 7/8 x 8 5/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Leon Levy and Shelby White Gift, Rogers Fund and Nathaniel Spear Jr. Gift, 1988
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 406
Zoomorphic weights were widespread in the ancient world. Weights in the shape of frogs and toads were rare in the Near East, but they do occur in Egypt. This frog weight is dated to the second millennium B.C. on the basis of the four line Akkadian inscription under its throat: "a frog [weighing] 10 minas, a legitimate weight of the god Shamash, belonging to Iddin-Nergal, son of Arkat-ili-damqa." The mina was the Mesopotamian unit of measure, weighing about 500 grams (18 ounces). The weight system was based on the talent or the average load that could be carried by a man or animal (about 30 kilograms). According to the Sumerian sexagesimal system, the talent was divided into 60 minas, and a mina was divided into 60 shekels.
Acquired by the Museum in 1988, purchased from Robert Haber, New York.

"Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013.

Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 119 (July 1, 1988 - June 30, 1989), pp. 15-16.

Graff, Sarah B. 2012. "Weight in the Shape of a Frog." In Earth, Sea, and Sky : Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun, no. 112, pp. 181, 255.
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