Following the great success of the volume The Splendour of Ethnic Jewellery
, published by Abrams, here is the first title of the new Skira series devoted to applied and decorative arts; the volume, which presents a selection of rings from the Ghysels collection, one of the major private collection of ethnic jewellery, is a complete monography about the different tipologies, shapes, materials and functions of rings in the history and culture of different peoples and countries in the world.
Round, square, oval, hexagonal or simply a sculpture in space, since ancient times the rings has lent itself to the boundless imagination of its creators in a fascinating variety of ways. Its thousand and one faces are the result of the wide-ranging techniques used by goldsmiths: lost wax, beating granulation or coating, engraving with foliage or incantatory and magic phrases, inlaying with niello or setting with stones.
A vast range of materials have assisted artists in their creations: these might be organic (leaves, feathers, bone and ivory), metallic (iron, aluminium, bronze, silver and gold), or mineral (precious and non-precious stones).
Unlike Chinese or Indian archer rings, most rings are rarely functional but have a great ornamental value. Their symbolism is also rich and complex: they can be a sign of union, as in the engagement and marriage rings used in Ethiopia and by the Tuareg peoples, or the double-ring of Kazak women matchmakers; they may be a sign of identity like the seal-rings engraved with their owner’s name and prevalent in Islamic cultures, or they can be a mark of power like those worn by high-ranking Sudanese men. The ring thus truly represents all aspects of our lives.
From the same series:A World of Head Ornaments. Africa, Asia, Oceania, AmericaA World of Earrings. Africa, Asia, AmericaA World of Bracelets. Africa, Asia, Oceania, AmericaA World of Necklaces. Africa, Asia, Oceania, AmericaA World of Belts. Africa, Asia, Oceania, America