Medieval Silver Ring with Engraved Christogram

£ 650.00

A beautiful example of Medieval jewellery, a finger ring modelled in gilt silver and featuring a round shape and a finely decorated bezel. The bezel appears composed of heart-shaped centre, from which two quatrefoils extend. The heart is incised with the religious Christogram IHS, written in a style that echoes the lettre bâtarde used in Medieval vernacular books. UK ring size P. Weight: 4.4 g.

Date: Late 14th-Early 15th Century
Condition: Extremely fine, with traces of the original gilt still visible to the surface. The ring is suitable for modern wear with care.
Product Code: MS-23
Categories: , Tags: ,

Medieval jewellery appears often decorated with motives driven from Christian and secular imaginary. From the later Middle Ages, a more personal relationship with God was promoted, achieved through prayer and contemplation. Testimonies of this new attitude towards religion are a large number of everyday objects, such jewellery pieces, images and books. Rings bearing religious images or depictions of saints are known as iconographic rings and were worn in everyday life as a sign of faith and devotion. This beautiful ring is engraved with HIS, a Christogram based on the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, ΙΗΣΟΥΣ. IHS can also be interpreted as an acronym for Iesus Hominum Salvator, meaning ‘Jesus the Saviour of Mankind’. The use of this particular Christogram became extremely popular across Medieval Europe from the late 14th century onwards. Important historical figures of the past are deeply connected with such Christogram: Saint Bernardino da Siena devised the use of the three letters, IHS, written on a blazing sun to displace insigna of warring factions, as the Guelphs and the Ghibellines; furthermore, Saint Ignatius di Loyala, founder of the Jesuits order, introduced the monogram IHS surmounted by a cross as the emblem of the order. As seen on this fine example, the Christogram is incised on a heart: in Medieval religious iconography, the heart was not only a symbol of love and compassion, but also a symbol of the Sacred Heart of Christ. The two quatrefoils, or four-leaf clovers, might be interpreted as symbol of salvation, with each leaf representing one of the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Dimensions W 1.8 cm
Metal

Silver

Region

Western Europe

Christian Ideology

IHS

Reference: For a similar item, The Victoria & Albert Museum, item 678-1871.

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