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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Phoenicia

  • Date:

    6th century BC (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold set with engraved jasper

  • Museum number:

    409-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Rings are known in Egypt from the Middle Kingdom (c.2050 BC – c.1800 BC) onwards. The earliest examples take the form of precious stone scarabs attached to loops of wire, usually bearing royal names and titles, or those of royal women. Soon afterwards, ‘private name’ stone scarabs also emerged, bearing the names or professional titles of particular individuals, or other unique identifiers such as a combination of symbols. These were often again made into rings. It is believed that these either acted as seals, or amulets, or even both. From the middle of the New Kingdom (c.1550 BC – c.1070 BC), rings also began to be mass-produced in glazed composition. Unlike scarab rings, these were not designed to identify particular individuals, and typically displayed bezels with stock designs – divine or protective symbols, or the name of the ruling King.

This ring originally formed part of the collection of Edmund Waterton, a collection of approximately 760 rings designed with the aim of illustrating the history of rings of all periods and types. The majority of the collection was acquired by the Museum in 1871, with a remaining part being acquired in 1899, after Waterton’s bankruptcy forced him to part with it in 1868. The rings were held as security against a loan by the jeweler Robert Phillips for two years, but when Waterton missed an 1870 deadline to repay the loan, Phillips sold the collection to the Museum, having first contacted regarding a possible purchase in 1869.

Physical description

Gold ring with a revolving oval jasper scarab bezel. The ends of the band are bound with wire.

The back of the scarab has a single-line suture and separation between elytra and prothorax. The legs are stylised and shallowly incised. The underside of the scarab depicts two standing figures in typical Levantine dress, one the Pharaoh carrying the flail and wearing the double crown, the other possibly a goddess.

The gold band may be a more modern addition to the scarab.

Place of Origin

Phoenicia

Date

6th century BC (made)

Materials and Techniques

Gold set with engraved jasper

Dimensions

Height: 25 mm, Diameter: 25 mm Band

Object history note

ex Waterton Collection

Descriptive line

Gold ring with a revolving oval jasper scarab bezel. The underside of the bezel depicts two standing figures in typical Levantine dress, one the Pharaoh carrying the flail and wearing the double crown. Phoenician, Egyptianising, c. 6th century BC

Production Note

The gold band may be a more modern addition.

Materials

Jasper; Gold

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Scarabs

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Amulets

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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