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signet-ring / bezel

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1880.3702.y

  • Description

    Brass-washed copper alloy signet-ring, cast in one piece. The surface of the oval bezel is flat on top, and sharply bevelled at the sides to meet the shank, of which only a part survives. The cut design shows two nude women, one standing on either side of a tall column, simply executed with a plain capital and base, which supports a lion standing to left on the top. Both women have T-shaped head-dresses. The thin scarf around their shoulders falls down to their feet.

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  • Date

    • 1stC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 14.7 millimetres (bezel)
    • Width: 11.3 millimetres (bezel)
    • Thickness: 2.9 millimetres (bezel)
    • Width: 4.5 millimetres (shank)
  • Curator's comments

    For documentation of IM.Metal.141 see 1880.3702.a. For other examples of the same subject, see 1880.3702.x, z; 1880.3788.a. C. Fabrègues: The motif of the column surmounted by a lion recalls the pillars bearing the edicts of the Mauryan king Ashoka (c. 269–232 BC) which were erected all over India at sites such as Lauriya-Nandangarh (Thapar 1997, pp.5-6). Pillars similarly mounted with seated lions were also erected beside stupas at Buddhist sites such as Saidu Sharif I in Swat, dated 1st–5th century (Faccenna and Callieri 2003, pp.311, 314, fig.21), the lion being a symbol of the Budda, lion of the Shakya clan (Rowland 1953, pl.8). The women on the ring may be interpreted as worshipping the Buddha through circumambulation of the pillar, as is depicted on a sandstone relief from Mathura in the Lucknow Museum attributable to the 1st century AD (Lucknow State Museum, J.268: Klimburg-Salter 1995, fig.95a). Bibliography: Faccenna, D. and Callieri P. (2003) ‘the Buddhist sacred area of Saidu Sharif I’, Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia. An International Journal of Comparative Studies in History and Archaeology IX, pp.307–80. Klimburg-Salter, D.E. (1995) Buddha in Indien. Die frühindische Skulptur von König Aśoka bis zur Guptazeit, Vienna. Rowland, B. (1953) The Art and Architecture of India, London. Thapar, R. (1997) Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Delhi (rev. ed.).

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  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1880

  • Acquisition notes

    Collected from the site of Begram, 1834-8 (MSS Eur. E161/VII, ff.31-3).

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1880.3702.y

  • Additional IDs

    • IM.Metal.141 (British Museum no.: India Museum collection.)
Brass-washed copper alloy signet-ring, cast in one piece. The surface of the oval bezel is flat on top, and sharply bevelled at the sides to meet the shank, of which only a part survives. The cut design shows two nude women, one standing on either side of

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Object reference number: RRI322000

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