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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Archive : Carnelian Intaglio Depicting a Janus Head
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Carnelian Intaglio Depicting a Janus Head - FJ.6501
Circa: 1700 AD to 1800 AD

Collection: European
Medium: Carnelian-Gold

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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The art of glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is probably one of the oldest known to humanity. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth and third millennia BC in Mesopotamia and Aegean Islands. They display a virtuosity of execution that suggests and old and stable tradition rooted in the earliest centuries. The tools required for carving gems were simple: a wheel with a belt-drive and a set of drills. Abrasives were necessary since the minerals used were too hard for a metal edge. A special difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature size, was that the master had to work with a mirror image in mind.

Janus was the god of doors and gates, and one of the most important deities in Rome. Being double-headed he was capable of facing two directions at once, as does a door, symbolizing the beginning and end of things. Janus tended to be focused more on beginnings, most notably as the eponym (founder) of the month January. During times of peace, his temple (Janus Geminus) in Rome was closed; an event which occurred all too rarely. On this handsome intaglio Janus is shown in his usual personification as a double-headed man wearing beards with lovely locks of hair flowing in between the heads. Janus was very popular on early Roman coinage, since he was believed to have invented money. In some legends he was in fact a king who created a Golden Age where all people lived happy and prosperous lives. What more perfect deity to grace this beautiful gold ring!
- (FJ.6501)


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