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Engraved Gems (Hardback)

From antiquity to the present

Ancient History > Ancient Egypt & Egyptology > Ancient Egyptian Archaeology Ancient History > Rome & the Roman Provinces > Roman Archaeology

Imprint: Sidestone Press
Series: Papers on Archaeology of the Leiden Museum of Antiquities
Pages: 230
Illustrations: 141fc / 26 bw
ISBN: 9789088905063
Published: 30th December 2017
Casemate UK Academic

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Many are no larger than a fingertip. They are engraved with symbols, magic spells and images of gods, animals and emperors. These stones were used for various purposes. The earliest ones served as seals for making impressions in soft materials. Later engraved gems were worn or carried as personal ornaments – usually rings, but sometimes talismans or amulets. The exquisite engraved designs were thought to imbue the gems with special powers. For example, the gods and rituals depicted on cylinder seals from Mesopotamia were thought to protect property and to lend force to agreements marked with the seals.

 

This edited volume discusses some of the finest and most exceptional precious and semi-precious stones from the collection of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities – more than 5.800 engraved gems from the ancient Near East, Egypt, the classical world, renaissance and 17th-20th centuries – and other special collections throughout Europe. Meet the people behind engraved gems: gem engravers, the people that used the gems, the people that re-used them and above all the gem collectors. This is the first major publication on engraved gems in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden since 1978.

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