Roman, Imperial period, probably from Roman Britain or another far province, ca. 1st to 4th century CE. A pair of matched jewelry, a ring and a bracelet, in the snake head style that was used throughout Greece and Rome for centuries. They are almost identical in form, made from silver hammered into flat strips with the terminals widened into the form of snake heads. Bracelet (18.1 g), ring (4.0 g). Ring size is US 6.75. Size of bracelet: 2.4" W x 0.4" H (6.1 cm x 1 cm)
Incised details give the snake heads eyes, forked tongues, and round scales that continue partway around the bodies of the bracelet and ring. The interior of the bracelet and the exterior of the ring have hints of more details but these have been worn with age. The snake was one of the most popular motifs in Roman jewelry, symbolizing fertility and used to ward off evil. The simple, flattened style, with round eyes, suggests a Celtic influence, as much Roman art in Britain had.
Provenance: Ex-private Collection of James Farmer, Maryland, collected from major galleries and auction houses between 1995 and 2005
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