Early Severan, Circa 200-220. Relief Bezel (Bronze, 12 x 11 mm, 1.05 g), an oblong ring bezel with two portraits shown vis-à-vis, perhaps originally gilt or silvered. On the left, draped female bust to right, in the style of Julia Domna with a 'melon' hair style of five ridges and a bun at the back, facing, on the right, a youthful draped male bust, in the style of a Caracalla or Geta, to left, beardless and with his head bare. Rev. Blank. Most ancient ring bezels were made from gem stones carved in intaglio so that they could be set into metal rings and used as seals. The metal ring itself, whether gold, silver or bronze, could have the seal design engraved directly into its surface, obviating a need for a separate insert. Rings could also have bezels made in relief for purely decorative purposes: cameos are a perfect example, but relief portraits, made from metal, as this one, were also used. What we have here, with two portraits shown vis-à-vis, could have been made for a marriage ring, or, equally, could depict a mother and her son. In addition, it could show imperial portraits as a sign of honour or partisanship. Since the portraits do look very Severan, it is tempting to ascribe them to Domna and Caracalla (or Geta), but it should be remembered that ordinary people would adapt their own portrait styles to those of the imperial family. In addition, neither portrait shows any signs of imperial status, such as a diadem or a laurel wreath, which probably means that we have the portraits of two relatively important private people. Clear and very skilfully made with excellent portraits. Somewhat corroded surfaces, otherwise, about extremely fine.
Hammer Price: 420 CHF
Estimate: 350 CHF