Roman bracelet with hunting scene

Object number
Object: Roman bracelet with hunting scene

Material: Silver. Bitumen as a filler material.

Period: 250 AD to 300 AD,
Late Roman Imperial period.

Description:    Toroid bracelet with large cross section profile, the body still being partly filled with bitumen. A section of the bracelet could be opened to help put the jewellery on the wrist. The armlet is slightly opened there and reveals the hinge mechanism.
The outer surface is decorated by an elaborate repoussé work. Transverse and lengthwise ornamental bands divide the area in 3 x 6 rectangular sections. Each section bears an image in low relief with all images forming a hunting scene.

Middle row:
Man standing with whip(?) and dog, probably the attendant of the figure in front of him, a man on horseback with a cloak and speer. A lion with raised tail looking back over its shoulder. A recumbent deer with a star above. The scenes with lion and deer repeat on the two sections on the openable part of the bracelet.

Top row:
A wreath, accompanied by striding or running animals in the other sections.

Bottom row:
Two sections with wreath, two sections with striding or running animals, two sections with arrangements of three leaves each.

The braclet is a rare and wonderful example for jewellery from Antioch or Palmyra or the surrounding region. It combines typical Roman motives with local craftship.

Dimensions: Approx. 10.2cm outer diameter, 5.5cm to 6.4cm inner diameter. Approx. 3cm diameter of the profile cross section.

Condition: The bracelet is heavy because of the partly intact bitumen core. Some cracks across the body. Bent open at one hinge. Good overall condition and impressive size. Stored in a leather box cushioned with soft farbic on the inside by a previous collector.

Provenance: Acquired by us in 2020 on the British art market. Previously in a British private collection. From Sotheby's London auction 1973 July 9th, lot no. 37. It has been passed down that the bracelet was acquired before 1914 in the Middle East. Lepage speculates in his detailed analysis of this bracelet that it was made in a Roman workshop in Antioch or Palmyra.

Publications: A detailed analysis of this piece can be found in C. Lepage, objets 3 - Revue semestrielle d'Art et d'Archéologie (ARKE, Genf, 1970), p. 11 to 17, "Un bracelet romain en argent repoussé".
Sotheby's, New Bond Street, London, auction catalogue 1973 July 9th, text p. 13 and illustration plate IX, no. 37.

Authenticity: We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of every artefact, all items are subject to our lifetime return policy on authenticity.