Ancient Roman Carnelian Intaglio Stone with Fortuna

£ 395.00

An Ancient Roman carnelian intaglio stone in an oval shape with a flat base. The stone is finely carved with the image of Fortuna facing right. The finely rendered image depicts the goddess elegantly dressed in voluminous robes and wearing a mural crown. She is portrayed with two of her attributes: a cornucopia in her right arm and a gubernaculum, a rudder, in her left, which the goddess would have steered to control the changeable fortunes of life. Intaglio stones of this kind would have been set in a piece of jewellery and worn as everyday ornamentation in Ancient Rome.

Date: Circa 1st – 3rd Century AD
Provenance: From a family collection formed 1988, by descendant.
Condition: Fine condition, with clear definition of the intaglio. Remnants of the original ring encasement still visible to edges and reverse.
Product Code: RES-148
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The term intaglio refers to a small image that has been engraved into a gemstone and usually set in a piece of jewellery, most commonly a ring. Such artistic form has its origin in Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, with the appearance of cylinder and stamp seals, whereby decorations and patterns were engraved into soft stones. During the Hellenistic period and the early Roman Empire, the art of intaglio reached its apogee, with there being a steady decline in craftsmanship in the late Imperial Rome, until a revival of interest with the Byzantine and during the Renaissance.

The subject used for intaglios are diverse, with depictions of deities being a favourite theme. Fortuna was the personification of good fortune and chance, and was worshipped as the protector of cities, hence the mural-crown she is shown wearing, which symbolises the city the goddess is protecting. She is also portrayed bearing a cornucopia, a symbol of abundance, and a rudder, symbol of her control over human destinies.

To discover more about Intaglios, please visit our relevant blog post: Intaglios: Miniature Masterpieces.

Dimensions L 1.4 x W 1.3 cm

Southern Europe

Semi-Precious Stone


Roman Mythology


Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1986,0401.154

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