Thursday, November 7, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Sicilian Lion Ring, 1100-1200

Gold Ring
Sicily, 1100-1200
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Large in size, this ancient ring was made for a man with a motif of a lion passant (a lion in profile facing to the right), a theme which was often used in heraldry. In this case, the lion symbol may possibly indicate a particular family's arms, but is most likely purely decorative.

This gold ring is cast and chased with shaped shoulders decorated with an interlace pattern. The flat rectangular bezel into which the lion is set is decorated with incising. It was made in Sicily between 1100 and 1200.

During this era (as now), rings were often exchanged as gifts, or bequeathed to friends and relatives. If a ring did not fit the new owner, the custom was to wear it on a ribbon around the neck, or secured to the finger by a ribbon tied around the wrist.

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