Ancient Roman Bronze Key Ring

Ancient Roman Bronze Key Ring
Circa 1st - 4th century AD

An Ancient Roman bronze key ring featuring a round-section loop and a flat rectangular bezel; the square openwork key attached to a short narrow stalk extends at a right angle from the bezel and features a meander design. This meander design would have been used with tumbler locks.

The Romans were skilled locksmiths and produced finger-rings in the form of keys. The different shapes of the wards suggest that they were intended for use as keys rather than being merely decorative. Key rings may have been widely used across the Roman Empire because Roman clothing did not generally have pockets. These ring keys opened small boxes or caskets of personal possessions such as jewellery boxes, rather than opening larger doors. It is possible that they were worn particularly by women, perhaps after marriage as a sign of their new status. Ring keys might also have had an amuletic significance, relating to the power of the key to both protect and to reveal.

Measurements: 1.5cm internal diameter, closest UK ring size H.

Provenance: Ex Spanish collection, JV Gallery, Madrid, acquired 1970s-90s.

Lot details
Ancient Roman
Key Ring
Century/ Timeframe
Circa 1st - 4th century AD
Good Condition, See Photo
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