Roman era, 1st century BC - 1st century AD
18K gold and carnelian
seal fob : 3 cm
intaglio : 1,2 cm
An amazing historic detail is given by Suetonius in De Vita Caesarum : Suetonius tells that the emperor Augustus (63BC-14AD) used at first the image of a sphinx for sealing. Sphinx or sphinges on intaglios are common subjects for the period. For comparables : Catalogue of the engraved gems and finger rings in the Ashmolean Museum (tome 2). See numbers 10.85, 10.86 and 10.87. Or similar examples in the Beazley archive.
The intaglio is set in an exquisite egyptian revival gold seal fob dating from the 2nd part of the 19th century. The figural fob reinterprets the theme of canopic jar figuring Imsety, the human-headed god representing the South.
The association between a real piece from Antiquity (the intaglio) and a reinterpreted one (the canopic vase) forms a refined example of the Antiquity rediscovering movement as well as a moment in the history of taste.
2 900 €