Ring with a Horse, 8th century BCE
Geometric Period
Greece, possibly Boeotia or Thessaly region
Copper alloy
2 ¼ × 1 1/8 × 1 in. (5.7 × 2.9 × 2.5 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
X 2126.10

Photo: Paul Hester
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This ancient Greek ring with a horse applique represents a personal ornament, probably meant to be worn. It was acquired by the de Menils in 1962 and dates to the Geometric period (900–700 BCE). Bronze rings such as this were a common item of adornment found in burials. Most often, rings from this period are made of a simple tubular band without additional decoration or are simply a band holding a gem. This more elaborate piece includes two parts, the band and the horse, that may have been cast separately and then joined together. The band is a short tube with raised flanges at either side. The body of the horse is flat, but it has a three-dimensional head complete with a round muzzle and projecting ears. Only two legs are visible, owing to the its predominant profile view, and the tail is distinguished from the hind leg only by a shallow engraved line. Across the surface, there is a lot of pitting and encrustations that make it difficult to determine if the horse or ring had any additional decoration.