Treasures for body and mind

04 February, 2012

Les Enluminures

Les Enluminures, a Parisian gallery, handles highly specialized and exceptionally rare works of art of museum quality from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including rings.  They also have earlier rings, like this beautiful sardonyx and gold 2d or 3d century Roman ring.  While ancient, it looks no worse for wear than items found in our grandmother's jewelry boxes.  Who wore it? What was his or her story? Stories? How did the ring survive all of those years?  

Ring after ring at Les Enluminures lead you to daydreaming.  This amethyst bead and gold granulation ring from the Byzantine Empire, 1100-ish, should have some very special tales. Imagine how this ring reflected the status of its owner.  It's center stone is a repurposed amethyst bead, a reminder of a time when amethyst was one of the most precious, rare stones and stone beads were products of time intensive labor, a time when light only came from the sky or fire.   

And why, exactly, did medieval people give their rings (more precious and rare then than now) to St. Blaise, hanging them on his arm's wood and gilt reliquary at Braunschwieg from 1050 until the 1500s?   St. Blaise is the patron saint of wool combers and is invoked for assistance with sore throats and sometimes sickness in general, so did these people suffer sore throats?  Were they burghers who earned their riches in the wool trade?  Did they give away their rings as supplication or in gratitude for cures?  Did they get their throats blessed on 4 February, St. Blaise's feast day? 

According to Les Enluminures, the rings have stayed are where they were hung, the changes in their styles showing the years passing but faith remaining.  The reliquary is not for sale, but rings similar to and contemporaries of the saint's rings are.  

And the more time you spend, the more treasures your encounter.  What a wonderful site... Les Enluminures.      

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