- Museum number
Gilded copper ring with Eros playing with a iunx/iynx (magical wheel on a string). The design on this ring shows Eros crouching to the left, holding the iunx, a magical love charm inteded to arouse desire. There is a simple, single ground line. Probably made by hammering. This is one of the earliest examples of mercury gilding.
- Production date
Diameter: 1.80 centimetres (inner)
Diameter: 2.20 centimetres
Length: 1.80 centimetres (bezel)
Weight: 4.40 grammes
- Curator's comments
- A good parallel depicting Eros playing with a iynx-wheel is on a gold ear reel dated from 350-330 BC from East Greece (GR 1862,0530.8) The iynx-wheel (that can mean yearning or craving) is a magic spinning wheel instrument on a string invented by Aphrodite who taught its use to Eros. Its magic was used ‘to attract lovers and call back faithless lovers’. Iynx-wheels and representations of them were used as votive gifts before marriage, during courtship as a lover’s gift or as in this case as grave goods (Böhr 1997, 116-20).
'A iunx consisted of a string with a wheel attached, which span when the string was pulled. It served as a magic love charm, intended to arouse desire. The copper ring was probably made by skilful hammering or, perhaps, by casting. The design was then chased into the bezel and mercury-gilded; finally, the flat surfaces were burnished. This is one of the earliest examples of mercury gilding' (Williams and Ogden 1994; bronze and mercury gilding analysis see Craddock 1977, 109-10; see also Boardman 1970, pl. 723, shape vii; Nike Group; Ogden 1987, pl. 9 left, upper left).
Böhr, E. 1997. A rare bird on Greek vases: the wryneck, in Oakley, J. H., Coulson, W. D. E. & Palagia, O. (eds). Athenian potters and painters : the conference proceedings. Catalogue of an exhibition held in conjunction with the international conference held at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Dec. 1-4, 1994. Oxbow monograph ; American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 109-123.
Craddock, P.T. 1977. The composition of the copper alloys used by the Greek, etruscan and Roman civilisations: 2. The Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greeks. Journal of Archaeological Science, pp. 109-10.
Ogden, J. 1987. Jewellery of the ancient world. London.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Greek and Roman
- Registration number