Ring, 10th–11th century
Gold with cloisonné enamel; Diam. 3/4 in. (1.7 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 2004 (2004.274)
The ring is one of the most opulent and technically complex extant gold rings from the early Middle Ages. At the center is an elliptical flower form in gold cloisonné enamel. The flower’s central element is a cruciform shape in white enamel framed by a greenish field with four crescent-shaped petals in bluish glass. Supporting the enamel is an elliptical hoop with arcades of twisted wire on the inside and the outside. A meandering vine pattern of twisted wire—somewhat worn—covers the underside of the bezel. Below the outer arcade are small rings to contain the strung pearls—now lost—within a slot. Supporting the bezel are two opposing felines. The ring is closely related to one (now Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin) found in Mainz in 1880 in a hoard of ceremonial and personal jewelry, possibly belonging to an Ottonian or Salian German empress, that can be dated about 1000.