This is a nice medieval bronze signet ring, dating to the late 14th - 15th century. The round bezel is engraved with a heron with outstretched wings and a sharp pointed beak. During the medieval period it was thought that "the heron is a bird that is wiser than all others, because it does not have many resting places, but lives near to where its food is. It nests in high trees, but gets its food from the water. It never eats carrion. It is afraid of rain storms and flies high above the clouds to avoid them; thus when a heron takes flight, it means that a storm is coming. A heron uses its beak to defend the young in its nest from other birds." The heron signifies those who fear the disorder of the world, and to avoid its storms fly high above it in spirit. See further examples in The Medieval Bestiary with sources.
OBJECT: Signet Ring
DATE: c. 14th - 15th century A.D.
RING SIZE: 11 (US) V 1/2 (UK)
SIZE: 24mm x 25mm x 3mm (bezel 13mm x 12mm x 2mm)
WEIGHT: 3.93 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. private collection, Brittany, France.
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