This Byzantine wedding ring from Agrigento, Sicily was made in the 7th century AD. The ring, which was originally inlaid, shows Christ blessing the union of bride and groom. The inscription on the face, ‘OM(o)NYA’, means ‘Harmony’ or ‘Concord’ and the inscription around the hoop is a quote from the Bible (‘My peace I give to you’ – John 14:27). During the early Byzantine period, just like today, a ring was the object most closely associated with the marriage ritual. Romans and Byzantines believed that a special vein ran from the fourth (ring) finger directly to the heart.
You can see this beautiful ring in our exhibition Sicily: culture and conquest, opening 21 April.
Sponsored by Julius Baer
In collaboration with Regione Siciliana