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31.07.2021

Cupid ring

This late Roman gold ring was found at Tangley, north of Andover, two years ago by Ashley Duke. It is considered a "treasure" according to the definition of the Treasure Act, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme oversaw its registration, appraisal, and publication .

It was acquired by the Hampshire Cultural Trust, and the opportunity to display it coincided with the publication of the ring, first, in a scholarly article in Britannia magazine, and second, in a wide range of media, because the beautifully cut intaglio, depicting a rather languid and wicked-looking Cupid, struck a chord.
The nikolo intaglio (onyx with a blue surface and dark core) depicts a winged, naked Cupid leaning on a short spiral column. He holds a flaming torch above his head, which he later uses to burn Psyche in her butterfly guise.
Parallels to this ring are noted in the National Museum in Vienna, and closer to home in one of the rings of the Silchester Hoard.

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