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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Roman Seal Rings : Roman Intaglio depicting Bigae drawn by Two Birds
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Roman Intaglio depicting Bigae drawn by Two Birds - FJ.6410
Origin: Holy Land
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD

Collection: Roman Seal Ring/ Intaglio
Medium: Agate-Gold

Additional Information: 18 karat white gold ring
Location: United States
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This intaglio is set in an 18 karat gold ring

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 the Aegean Islands. They display a virtuosity of execution that suggests an 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.

Roman coins, both consular and imperial, show the bigae (chariots) drawn by an amazing array of exotic animals-- elephants, lions, bulls, stags (symbolizing the goddess Diana), and panthers (representing the god Bacchus). Fantastic creatures, such as the griffin and centaur, were also depicted. The rider is small in stature compared to the two birds, which may be very large eagles or even ostriches. With his whip cracking in the air the rider spurs on his chariot upon which he stands precariously, fearless of falling like a young man full of daring. This fascinating ring offers a brief look into the Roman mind, and the pleasure they took in real events touched by the mythical.
- (FJ.6410)


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