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Engraved Ring

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: Greek, Graeco - Thracian
: 5th - 4th century B.C.
: Gold
: D: 3.1 cm

Ex – American private collection; acquired in 2001




The pointed oval bezel of this finger ring features an engraved representation of a bearded horseman riding to the left. He wears an impressive Corinthian helmet and a chlamys that is thrown over his shoulder, flying in the wind behind him. In his raised right hand, he holds a rhyton; with his left, the reins of a horse that stands quietly with one leg uplifted. The ring’s shape suggests a date from the fifth to early fourth century B.C. While the engraving reveals the hand of a Greek artist, the subject refers to Thracian society and to the Danube cultures, in which depictions of horsemen were quite popular. The scene commemorates the moment following a king’s investiture: the Great Mother Goddess has just given the hero a rhyton, the symbol of his kingship, which he proudly presents to the viewer. A similar subject is engraved into the bezel of a gold ring from Brezovo, Bulgaria, which depicts the goddess presenting a rhyton to a ruler; another example from Glozhene, in Bulgaria’s Lovech district, shows a horseman triumphantly holding a rhyton.


GSTAAD, 2017

BIENALLE, Paris, 2008

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