GOLD RING WITH ENGRAVED VIRGIN AND CHILD AND INSCRIPTION
Byzantine Empire, 6th-7th century AD
Circumference 54.51 mm.; weight 9.0 gr.; US size 7; UK size O
The bezel is joined to a solid, cylindrical hoop. The engraved image depicts the Virgin seated frontally on a flat throne, holding a disc containing the head of the Christ Child. She is flanked on either side by an inscription in Greek of uncertain meaning (perhaps two names). A few sharper lines in the engraving of the ring, now worn but in good condition, may suggest an attempt to sharpen the image. This ring belongs to a type of tablet-bezel rings of circular shape popular in the sixth and seventh centuries and displaying religious subjects, such as the archangels, the saints, Christ, and especially the Virgin and Child.