Winged Lion and Sphinx
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Gift of Monique Lanel

Etruscan or Greek, South Italy, 550 - 500 B.C.
Gold and silver
3/4 x 3/8 in.

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A roaring, winged lion and a sphinx face each other on the bezel of this ring. A branch separates them and a star appears underneath the sphinx. The meaning of these details is unclear, but these and similar symbols appear on other rings.

All Greek and Etruscan metal rings with engraved bezels ultimately derive from Egyptian and Phoenician cartouche-shaped rings. The influence is clearest on rings such as this one, with a long straight-sided bezel and rounded ends.

The cartouche-shaped ring was especially popular in Etruria in the later 500s B.C., where immigrant Greek goldsmiths from Ionia introduced it. The choice of motifs and style of decoration in these rings also appear on objects in other media produced by these immigrant Ionian artists.

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