Gold box-bezel ring


British Museum

British Museum

This lightweight but elaborate ring is made of sheet gold and gold wire. The hoop is made of a tube of sheet gold overlaid with aligned twisted wire ropes. The scene, in low relief on an oval bezel, is surrounded by a variety of decorative wires and shows the figure of a seated woman wearing a chiton (tunic) and a cloak. Her right hand is down by her side, perhaps holding an object; her left hand is forward and slightly raised, holding a sceptre surmounted by a fruit enclosed within leaves. The ring is said to have been found in a tomb in Taranto with a necklace and a sceptre of the same form as that shown held by the woman on the ring. As the Greek city of Taras (modern Taranto) did not have a royal family in the fourth century BC, it is likely that the sceptre was a symbol of religious authority. The necklace has pendants in the form of the head of Io, a mythological priestess of Hera shown with a bull's horns and ears. It is possible that this group of jewellery once belonged to a priestess of Hera. All the objects were probably made in Taranto in about 350-330 BC and are now on display in the British Museum.

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  • Title: Gold box-bezel ring
  • Date Created: -350/-330
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 2.40cm; Length: 2.20cm (bezel); Weight: 7.90g; Height: 0.60cm (of box)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: filigree; wirework; twisted (wire)
  • Registration number: 1872,0604.15
  • Production place: Made in Taranto
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Taranto
  • Period/culture: Western Greek
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Castellani, Alessandro


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