- Museum number
Finger-ring; gold; oval bezel, its sides decorated in openwork with engraved birds; set with a carbouchon sapphire held in four claws; the junction between bezel and hoop decorated with two animal heads; the hoop trapeziodal in section with beaded outer edge, the two sides engraved to receive a nielloed inscription: AVE MARIA GRA / TIA PLENA DMI. ('Hail Mary, full of the grace of the Lord'), a variation on the angelic salutation at the Annunciation
- Production date
Width: 30 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See Diana Scarisbrick, 'Rings: Symbols of wealth, power and affection', London 1993, p. 29a.
Text from Ward, Cherry et al, 'The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century,' London 1981, pl. 124.
The hoop of triangular section, engraved for niello in lombardic lettering: AVE MARIA GRATIA PLENA DM ('Hail [Mary] full of grace: the Lord'), ends in two animal heads that grasp with their mouths the high open-work bezel, the sides of which are composed of birds with raised wings. The oval bezel is set with a cabochon sapphire held by four claws. Two similar rings are known, one found at Hvalso, Denmark in 1949 and another, without provenance, in the Walters Art Gsallery in Baltimore, Maryland. The Danish ring is set with an amethyst, and the Baltimore ring is, at present, set with a malachite. All three rings were produced in England or France, possibly for bishops or abbots.
Text from Zarnecki et al 1984, see bibliography.
'This is a representative selection of rings, worn by the very wealthy; contrast the humbler silver rings in the Lark Hill hoard. By the 12th century, bishops and certain privileged abbots were invested with a ring, which they wore as a symbol of marriage to the church. [...] Even more elaborate and sumptuous rings were made in the 12th century, although none has survived.'
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1997 Sep-Nov, Taunton, Castle Museum, Somerset: 1200 Years
1988 Mar 21-Oct 30, Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, 'Gerald of Wales-the Crusading Priest'
1984 5 Apr-8 Jul, London, Hayward Gallery, English Romanesque Art 1066- 1200
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number