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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Finger Ring Engraved with the Portrait of a Woman
Other Titles
Former Title: Finger Ring with Human Head in Intaglio
Work Type
3rd century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
Hellenistic period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
2.2 x 1.8 x 2.3 cm (7/8 x 11/16 x 7/8 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: 1986.542 is intact, although much of the surface detail of the intaglio design is softened from corrosion and wear.

All four rings have lost some detail from corrosion and wear, with 1986.541 showing considerable loss of detail. All are broken at the points where the front meets the ring. 1986.543 has no ring. 1986.541 has a modern lead repair, perhaps with the original ring, and 1953.83 also has a modern lead repair with what appears to be a section of a modern ring.

The rings appear to be cast with no clear evidence of cold work in the relief decoration. The relief on 1986.543 is slightly higher than the other two relief rings; 1986.542 is carved in intaglio.

Henry Lie (submitted 2001)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Jonathan H. Kagan
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The ring is in the form of a plain hoop, rounded on the exterior, with a flat bezel of oval shape. Deeply engraved in the bezel is a portrait bust of a woman wearing a diadem on her head. A similar portrait on a chalcedony gem in the Cabinet des Medailles, Paris, has been identified as Arsinoe III Philopator (1).


1. See D. Plantzos, Hellenistic Engraved Gems (Oxford, 1999) 114, no. 34, pl. 6.

Seán Hemingway

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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