A gold signet ring engraved with the image of a faithful hound.
English, late 16th century.
Ring size Q UK / 8 US.
The bezel measures 1.5 x 1.3cm.
The ring weighs 6 grams.
The bezel is engraved with the image of a collared sighthound walking to the right whilst loyally looking backwards over his shoulder towards his master. Above the hound are the owners initials ‘I B’ which are in turn engraved on the reverse. The image on the bezel is framed by an engraved cabled border.
Throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the image of dogs were used as symbols of loyalty and marital fidelity. This ring would have been used as a signet, pressed into hot wax to seal a letter or packet. Personal seals (secreta) provided an essential legal safeguard and were used to witness documents such as wills, deeds of gift, loans and commercial documents, personal letters and land indentures.
This ring was found in the village of Lytchett Matravers, Dorset, England in 2018. It was returned to finder after being disclaimed as treasure, the treasure case tracking number is: 2018T1033, it is entered on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database as DOR A1BC3F.
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