Description: 15th century AD. A flat-section gold hoop with pelleted border and text 'AVE*MARIA*GRACIA' applied shoulders with flower and frond detailing, plaque with inset quartz cabochon. 5.69 grams, 23mm overall, 16.96mm internal diameter (approximate size British M 1/2, USA 6 1/2, Europe 13.16, Japan 12) (1"). Ex Edwards collection, Nottingham, UK; formerly in a South German collection. The phrase 'Ave Maria Gracia' is based on the greeting of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke, Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Early theologians established a parallel between Christ?s Passion and the Virgin?s compassion: while he suffered physically on the cross, she was crucified in spirit. The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD sanctioned the cult of the Virgin as Mother of God; the dissemination of images of the Virgin and Child, which came to embody church doctrine, soon followed. The Virgin Mary, known as the Theotokos in Greek terminology, was central to Byzantine spirituality as one of its most important religious figures. As the mediator between suffering mankind and Christ and the protectress of Constantinople, she was widely venerated. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries saw an extraordinary growth of the cult of the Virgin in western Europe, in part inspired by the writings of theologians such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090?1153), who identified her as the bride of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The Virgin was worshipped as the Bride of Christ, Personification of the Church, Queen of Heaven, and Intercessor for the salvation of humankind. This movement found its grandest expression in the French cathedrals, which are often dedicated to ?Our Lady,? and many cities, such as Siena, in Italy, placed themselves under her protection.
Condition Report: Very fine condition.
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