• VESNA MANOJLOVIĆ NIKOLIĆ University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of History
Keywords: rings, anthropomorphic representations, human figures, archaeology, Middle Ages, Serbia


Jewellery represents a very indicative and chronologically sensitive type of archaeological material, expressing the fashion and style of a certain period, and certain examples have characteristics related to specific cultures and indicating ethnic affiliation of persons wearing it. Medieval rings, just like jewellery in general, represented an integral part of the traditional garb as well as a decorative piece that an individual carried in life and was often buried with it too. Their unchanging shape makes them the most conservative piece of jewellery, which has retained the same form until the present time. What varied through time/space were materials the rings were made of, the quality of production, the choice of motives and also the appearance of the hoop and the shape of the head of the ring.

This paper offers an analysis of medieval rings with anthropomorphic representations. According to the number of figures represented on the head of the ring, two groups are distinguished: rings with one or with two human figures. With respect to the elements represented alongside the figure defining it more precisely, the first group includes rings with warriors and holy warriors. With respect to the variations in compositions with two figures, we can distinguish four groups of rings: the ones with a cross between human figures; the ones with hands raised in the act of benediction; the ones with a halo; the ones without a halo around the figures’ heads.

The rings are dated back to the 12th century and the first decades of the 13th century. According to results of archaeological research, they are mostly found on necropoles in Eastern Serbia. Similar to the most of the rings from this period, they belong to the Byzantine cultural circle, i.e. they imitate Byzantine models, and certain examples can be linked to the strengthening of Christianity among the Slav populations of the Balkans. 


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