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Ring

  • Place of origin:

    Byzantium

  • Date:

    2nd century-3rd century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved gold

  • Museum number:

    829-1871

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The clasped hands engraved on the bezel of this Roman ring are a symbol known as the ‘dextrarum iunctio’ and were a symbol used not only in marriage but to symbolise other contracts or agreements. The gesture is found on medieval and later rings though the meaning should not be seen as identical.

This ring forms part of a collection of 760 rings and engraved gems from the collection of Edmund Waterton (1830-87). Waterton was one of the foremost ring collectors of the nineteenth century and was the author of several articles on rings, a book on English devotion to the Virgin Mary and an unfinished catalogue of his collection (the manuscript is now the National Art Library). Waterton was noted for his extravagance and financial troubles caused him to place his collection in pawn with the London jeweller Robert Phillips. When he was unable to repay the loan, Phillips offered to sell the collection to the Museum and it was acquired in 1871. A small group of rings which Waterton had held back were acquired in 1899.

Physical description

Gold ring, the hoop flattened to form a bezel, and engraved with clasped hands.

Place of Origin

Byzantium

Date

2nd century-3rd century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Engraved gold

Dimensions

Height: 2 cm, Width: 2.1 cm, Depth: 0.7 cm

Descriptive line

Gold ring, the hoop flattened to form a bezel, and engraved with clasped hands, Roman, 2nd or 3rd century

Materials

Gold

Techniques

Engraving

Subjects depicted

Signet rings; Hands

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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