A South Arabian gold ring featuring a decorated, oval bezel. Comprised of a thick D-shaped hoop which flares outwards at the shoulders before widening to encompass the bezel. The top of the ring is flat to allow for the debossed profile of a young man. Incised lines have been used to create the particles of his hair, tied with a filet. Four South Arabian characters surround the profile. To the left, from top to bottom, are the signs ‘nun’ (n) and ‘dal’ (d) respectively. Whilst the right features the signs ‘alef’ (A) and ‘mem’ (m). A sun ray has also been depicted on top and underneath the profile. The small size of the hoop would suggest that this was a child’s ring.
The measurements given below refer to the internal diameter of the ring. Weight: 8.74 grams.
Date: Circa 2nd Century AD Provenance: Acquired 1970-1999. London collection of the late Mr S.M., thence by descent. Condition: Excellent. Clear profile and characters.
Ancient South Arabia is a geographical label referring to a region occupied by six semitic kingdoms: Sabaʼ, Qatabān, Ma‘īn, Ḥaḍramawt, the Kingdom of Awsan, and the Himyarite Kingdom. The territory of these kingdoms corresponds to a modern-day area including Yemen, and extending into Oman, north to the Arabian oasis of Dedan, to Ethiopia, and even as far along as the East African Coast, into modern Tanzania.