Talismans & Treasures at the Cloisters

This weekend we took a trip to the tippy top of Manhattan to visit Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffith Collection at the Cloisters.

Rings of every shape and size, dating from ancient Rome to the Renaissance were resting in cases between paintings and precious vessels relevant to the jeweler’s art. Our favorites were the pieces that held some symbolic or sentimental meaning.

View of the Treasures and Talismans exhibition hall. 

View of the Treasures and Talismans exhibition hall. 

There were lots of posey rings engraved with secret love poems sweet and strange...

17th Century English Posey Ring. Inscribed "A Verteuous Wiffe Prolongeth Liffe."

17th Century English Posey Ring. Inscribed "A Verteuous Wiffe Prolongeth Liffe."

... and elaborate betrothal rings that put modern solitaire settings to shame.

Renaissance gimmel ring which splits apart to reveal the Latin inscription "What God has joined let no man put asunder." Also hidden inside are a tiny baby and skeleton, to remind the happy couple of the fleeting nature of life. We may have seen this same ring at a different exhibition in the past... 

Renaissance gimmel ring which splits apart to reveal the Latin inscription "What God has joined let no man put asunder." Also hidden inside are a tiny baby and skeleton, to remind the happy couple of the fleeting nature of life. We may have seen this same ring at a different exhibition in the past... 

Sapphire and Gold ring, late 14th century - sapphire 10th century. Stone is engraved in Arabic "Abd as-Salam ibn Ahmad." Ring is engraved in Latin "For love you were made and for love I wear you."

Sapphire and Gold ring, late 14th century - sapphire 10th century. Stone is engraved in Arabic "Abd as-Salam ibn Ahmad." Ring is engraved in Latin "For love you were made and for love I wear you."

We saw opulent ecclesiastical rings that proclaim one's faith (and wealth) to the world...

7th - 8th century Bishop's ring from Lombardy. 

7th - 8th century Bishop's ring from Lombardy. 

...and of course lots of haunting 'memento mori' rings to remind us all that we are slowly turning in to skeletons.

17th century 'memento mori' locket ring in gold, enamel and diamonds.

17th century 'memento mori' locket ring in gold, enamel and diamonds.

The exhibit is on view through October 18th, so plenty of time to get to the Cloisters and pick out your own favorites!