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HOME : Intaglio Jewelry : Archive : Roman Carnelian Intaglio of Cupid Taming the Lion
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Roman Carnelian Intaglio of Cupid Taming the Lion - FJ.6630
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 100 AD to 300 AD

Medium: Carnelian-Gold

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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This Ancient Seal Has Been Set in a Modern 18 Karat Gold Ring

Glyptics, or carving on colored precious stones, is one of the oldest known art forms. Intaglios, gems with an incised design, were made as early as the fourth millennia B.C. in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. They exhibit 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. One difficulty of engraving intaglios, aside from their miniature proportions, was that the master had to work with a mirror image in mind.

Cupid was the celebrated god of love in Roman mythology. The name Cupid is a variation on the word “cupido” (desire), and this god was also known by the name Amor (Love). It was commonly believed that Cupid was the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and this association between Venus and Cupid was reinforced by popular myths, poetry, literature, and art. The image carved onto this seal is one of the oldest subjects engraved on intaglios. A sword wielding Cupid rides on the back of a Lion wearing a mask in the form of a human face. Perhaps this scene is an allegory symbolizing how love is able to calm the inner beasts of men. In the end, what soldier would choose war over love? Love truly conquers all as this seal proves.

The stunning ochre hue of the carnelian is beautifully complemented and enhanced by the gold ring. The reserved, classical modeling of the ring allows the intaglio to shine as the centerpiece distracting from it. To wear this ring is to surrender oneself to the conquering forces of love.
- (FJ.6630)


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