Date: 3rd–5th century
Culture: Roman or Byzantine
Medium: Rock crystal
Dimensions: Overall: 2 1/16 x 6 5/16 x 1 1/4 in. (5.2 x 16.1 x 3.2 cm)
Classification: Lapidary Work-Crystal
Credit Line: Bequest of Ada Small Moore, 1955
Accession Number: 55.135.9
In the Roman and Byzantine world, rock crystal was believed to have magical qualities, particularly potent for healing various ailments and protecting against disease. The Roman naturalist Pliny believed rock crystal to come from snow. This dolphin statuette was one of five rock-crystal objects found in a cistern in Carthage (now in Tunisia, North Africa).