This is a superb medieval ecclesiastic seal, dating to the 12th - 13th century. This example depicts the Virgin Mary, enthroned and holding the Christ Child on her lap. He is depicted holding an apple, symbolizing his role as the new 'Adam' (see Romans 5). Sin came into the world through one man (Adam), but through one man (Jesus) many will be made righteous. Jesus Christ has overcome evil. The legend is inscribed in a Lombardic script: "+ Ave Maria Gra Plena *" (Ave Maria Gracia Plena, "Hail Mary, full of Grace"). The seal is beautifully cut, very deeply and with great sculptural effect. The matrix is thin and the Sillographer (Silver or Goldsmith) has made great use of all the metal available, at one stage cutting through the back of the seal (you can see a tiny hole). It is otherwise perfectly intact and all original. Very rare and superb in all respects!
OBJECT: Vessica Seal Matrice
DATE: c. 12th - 13th century A.D.
SIZE: 33mm x 20mm x 2.5mm
WEIGHT: 7.1 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. European Private Collection, France.
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