Unique Ring (design based on the San Isidoro box)
Metal: sterling silver (925)
Weight: approx. 23 g (0,81 oz)
The San Isidoro box is a small (presumably) red deer antler container (with copper alloy lids), part of the treasure of the San Isidoro church in León (Spain) and the only piece of Viking Art found in the Iberian Peninsula.
This minute wonder (4.4 cm tall), may have been commissioned as a diplomatic present to a key player in the Scandinavian rulers’ network within their newly embraced Christian faith, as had presumably been the case for the earlier Bamberg and Cammin caskets.
The theme of the piece is a large bird whose head looms over its main cylinder embracing the cylindrical container with its wings and claws. Seven beasts spring out of the extremities of the bird: two from the headdress, two from the tips of the wings and three from various feathers woven around the wings.
The style has been deemed to be within the Mammen group, though through close scrutiny we have found that not only the heads of the beasts (with their elongated and elaborately moustached muzzles) and the coiled tendril endings, but also the knotwork construction (systematically based on interlocking almond shape links) strongly suggest that its style had possibly moved onto the more lushly organised ways and taste of the Ringerike stylistic group. The legs of the main bird seem to betray some vestiges from Mammen style group, particularly in the pelleted texture, which underlines the fluidity of transition and remind us that the styles we refer to are our own convention, not theirs.
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