Julia Liberata

Rare signet ring with crucifixion scene in lapis, 1st half of the 18th century.

The present signet ring shows a rare representation. Between the laterally reversed engraved monogram "RK" a crucifixion scene is cut in lapis lazuli. Only under the magnifying glass is it visible that the crucified person is a woman whose hips are covered with a loincloth. Besides St. Wilgefortis, whose attribute is a beard, the only known crucified martyr is Julia of Corsica. It is said of Julia that she was sold as a slave and carried off to Corsica in the 5th century after the Vandal invasion of Tunisia. At that time a pagan festival is said to have been celebrated in Corsica. When the faithful Christian Julia refused to take part in it, she is said to have been crucified. According to tradition, a white dove emerged from her crucified body: this is why Juliet is also called "Liberata", the liberated one. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have included her in the canon of saints. Like many other female martyrs, Juliet was often depicted holding only a palm branch rather than the attributes of her suffering - presumably because bravery and the quality of being able to endure physical suffering were considered specifically male virtues. Art history assumes that crucifixion scenes of Wilgefortis are more frequently represented for this reason, since she is said to have been given a beard by God in order to make herself unattractive and thus to defend herself against a forced marriage. All the more unusual here is the depiction with bare breast, which is anticipated, for example, by a 17th century Baroque sculpture attributed to Giovanni Carra (Museo di Santa Giulia, Brescia). The ring corresponds to the type of bourgeois signet ring worn in the first half of the 18th century in Germany and elsewhere. Another example of this type is illustrated in Heinz Battke: Geschichte des Ringes, Baden-Baden 1953, Cat. No. 97 (cf. last illustration). Typical features are the octagonal signetgem with a grooved gold border and the curved shoulders, each of which bears a table-cut diamond in silver on a golden bar. The unusual ring is in excellent condition. Under the magnifying glass, an old enlargement of the ring's width is visible: Apparently, the ring, which is already quite small, originally had an even much smaller size. In addition to the motif, this circumstance suggests that the ring was once worn by a woman, possibly in a monastic context.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.