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A ROMAN GOLD AND ONYX CAMEO FINGER RING
A ROMAN GOLD AND ONYX CAMEO FINGER RING

CIRCA 4TH-5TH CENTURY A.D.

Details
A ROMAN GOLD AND ONYX CAMEO FINGER RING
CIRCA 4TH-5TH CENTURY A.D.
The hoop faceted on the exterior, flat on the interior, expanding to the broad shoulders, the bezel set with an oval stone carved in two layers, white on dark blue, with a hand tweaking an ear, a Greek inscription above reading: "Remember me," enclosed within a plain border
1 in. (2.5 cm.) wide; ring size 4
Provenance
The Miteva Collection, Switzerland.
Private Collection, Switzerland, acquired 1963-1971.

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Lot Essay

According to Boardman (Engraved Gems, The Ionides Collection, p. 43) "a hand tweaking an ear is a common gesture to request attention and recollection in Roman art and literature. A god pulls Virgil's ear to recall him to his duty of writing pastoral poetry rather than of kings and wars - Cynthia aurem vellit [Eclogues, vi 3-4]. On no. 79 [in the Ionides Collection] the gesture is accompanied by a lengthier inscription than most, 'Remember me, your dear sweetheart, and fare well Sophronios'. Gems like this might serve as pledges, given to dear ones going [on] a journey, to a husband or lover away on military service. A very similar stone in London with the same representation asks, 'Remember me, your love, wherever you are', while on others without the hand and ear we read, 'They say what they like. Let them talk. I do not care. Kiss me; you'll like it!'" For similar examples see nos. 52-55 in Henig, The Content Cameos.

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