What hangs in balance? In this case, nothing sits on the scales but the pearls and the painting offer clues to meaning. The painting behind the woman depicts the Last Judgment and the pearls represented earthly riches.
I constantly weigh value as to what and who to include in my novel. The scales have symbolic meaning in this painting and my novel. I have thoughts about what to put on my scales and even nothing has meaning. Right now, a feather weighs heavily. Anubis, Egyptian mythology, weighs hearts against the Feather of Truth. I favor the feather for other reasons, but I still do not what will weigh the most at the end.