Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 3rd century CE. A breathtaking ring stone, finely carved from a stunning, translucent carnelian stone of warm orange hues with red inclusions, a slightly convex oval intaglio with dramatically high beveled edges and a skillfully incised Solar horseman moving toward the left - in a modern 22K gold setting with a suspension loop, making for a lovely pendant. Note the horse's prancing motion - so kinetic - and the rays crowning the horseman - so vibrant - as he rides with one arm raised, the other holding a whip, his cloak billowing in the wind behind him. Total weight: 13.1 grams Size: intaglio measures .875" L x .75" W (2.2 cm x 1.9 cm); 1.5" L (3.8 cm) including setting and suspension loop
The Solar horseman may be a reference to Sol (Greek Helios) who was believed to ride a golden chariot that carried the sun across the skies every day from East to West. In addition to appearing on beautiful painted vases riding his golden chariot in the background of imagery narrating the Hercules (Herakles) story, gracing the faces of coins of Rhodes - his patron city, as well as the east pediment of the Parthenon where he emerges from the ocean in his chariot, Helios is perhaps most famously the subject of the Colossus of Rhodes, a monumental bronze statue regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
For the subject, see nos. 1133-1134 in M. Maaskant-Kleibrink, Catalogue of the Engraved Gems in the Royal Coin Cabinet, The Hague
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Christie's, New York(Ancient Jewelry, Sale 2771, December 13, 2013, Lot 314); ex-private New York, USA collection; ex-Francesca Artuner, Brussels
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