- Museum number
- Object: Coventry Ring
Finger-ring; gold; engraved. The thick broad broad hoop depicts Christ standing in tomb with the Cross and the Instruments of Passion behind him; the Five Wounds of Christ are engraved at intervals around the hoop, each between a hieroglyph of the wounds, the largest ('the well of everlasting life') next to Christ and the others in pairs one above the other, all in black letter, 'The well of pitty, the well of merci, the well of confort, the well of gracy, the well of everlastingh lyffe'; inscription in black-letter within hoop reads 'Wulnera quinq dei sunt medicina mei pia / crux et passio Cri sunt medicina michi jaspar / melchior baltasar ananyzapta tetragrammaton'. The inscriptions originally said to be enamelled black, the wounds and drops of blood originally said to be enamelled red.
- Production date
Diameter: 27.20 millimetres (exterior of hoop)
Weight: 786 grains
Depth: 16.50 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The Five Wounds were considered as having protective qualities. The interior inscription adds the names of the Three Kings and the magical words 'ananyzapta' and 'tetragrammaton'. The names of the Magi were believed to guard against various forms of sickness, and the word 'ananyzapta' was a talisman against sudden or violent death. The meaning of this word is explained as 'Antidotum Nazareni Auferat Necem Intoxicationis Sanctificet Alimenta Pocula Trinitas Alma' (May the antidote of Jesus avert death by poisioning and the Holy Trinity sanctify my food and drink). The 'tetragrammaton' is the name given to the four Hebrew letters that form the name of God.
The will of Sir Edmund Shaw, an important London goldsmith of the second half of the 15th century, refers to the making of 16 such rings, to be distributed to those close to him. They were to be made 'of fyne gold' and 'graven with the well of petey, the well of mercy and the well of everlasting lyff'.
Dalton & Tonnochy, A Guide to the Medieval Antiquities and Objects of Later Date..., 1924, p151.
Gray, The Five Wounds of Our Lord, Notes and Queries, 1963, vol. 208, pp50-51; 82-89; 127-134; 163-168.
Finaldi, The Image of Christ: Seeing Salvation, 2000, no63.
- On display (G40/dc14/sA)
- Exhibition history
2019-2020 Nov-Jun, Germany, Halle, Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte, Rings of Power
2017 14 Feb - 30 Apr, Sarasota, Marble and John Ringling Museum of Art, A Sense of Beauty: Medieval Art and the Five Senses
2016-2017 15 Oct - 8 Jan, Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, A Sense of Beauty: Medieval Art and the Five Senses
2003-2004 9 Oct-18 Jan, London, V&A, Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547
2000 23 Feb-7 May, London, The National Gallery, Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found 1802.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number