A very fine roman red jasper intaglio. Faced busts of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna.
15 x 21 x 3 mm
Faced busts of the emperor Septimius Severus (146-211 AD) and his consort Giulia Domna (approximately 170-217 AD). The founder of the Severian dynasty is shown here in profile towards the right, with the draped bust and the non laureated head (the circular fibula on the shoulder makes think about the paludamentum, military cloak); it is characterized by its typical physiognomy with hair adherent to the head and beard made by small locks. The consort is turned to the left, with the draped bust and the well rendered profile, with its typical waved hair. In the center, between the two busts, a crescent moon with a star (auspicious symbolism, referring to the imperial propaganda of the "Concordia Aeterna" and the "Felicitas saeculi" diffused on coins, on cameos and engraved gems). Intaglio executed with artistic mastery and technical expertise. Interesting physiognomic research of the characters, successful and faithful to the models present on coinage, here characterized by a greater expressiveness of the faces. Some intaglios are known that singly depict the two spouses or as a couple together with their children (see carving in beryl, bust of Giulia Domna, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 25.78.90; carving in carnelian, facing busts of Septimius Severo, Giulia Domna, Geta and Caracalla, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 40.143, Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Hermitage Museum, St. Pietrburgo, ГР-21653, sardonyx cameo mounted in gold pendant, busts of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, Ferrell collection No. 50). Generously sized square-shaped setting with rounded corners. Attractive quality of red jasper with black point micro inclusions. Slight wear marks and slight chipping on the edge. Good luck marriage gem linked to the propaganda of the Severian dynasty, presumably commissioned by an elite member of the imperial family. Rare. English private collection N.M. before 1975
2nd century AD.