Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Spanish Lion Ring Brooch, 1300-1500

Ring Brooch
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made to be worn to hold a cloak or tunic closed, this unusual jewel comes from Spain and dates somewhere between 1300 and 1500.

A masterpiece of gold, ruby, and onyx, the ring is formed of a gold branch which has been naturalistically chased and engraved, and adorned with broad leaves, each of which curls downward into a volute. Between each set of volutes, a ruby has been set.

At the center, an onyx cameo is set, depicting shows a lion mauling another animal. Fun! The case of the roundel is edged with scrolls and open-back rubies. Only the base of the pin remains, but is evidence that the jewel was multifunctional. 

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