15th-century gold ring with an image of Jesus discovered in Sweden

15th-century gold ring with the image of Christ on it found in Kalmar, Sweden
Credit: The Archaeologists, SHM

Swedish archaeologists have uncovered an ancient gold ring with an image of Christ on it in the city of Kalmar. It was one of over 30,000 finds discovered in preparation for a major water and sewage infrastructure project in the city. Parts of the city date back to medieval times, CBN reports.

The ring, which was in mint condition, is considered one of the major discoveries at the site. Because of the size, it’s believed the ring was worn by a woman and was lost sometime in the 15th century.

Another major find included an alsengem, a glass-type stone used as an amulet by pilgrims to ward off evil. The amulet, however, had been broken and was probably thrown away. It is dated to around the same time.

Curiously, the image on the ring depicts Jesus with long hair and beard and reveals the profound influence that the Shroud of Turin had on portrayals of Jesus in paintings and other mediums.

Shroud of Turin. Photo of original on left and negative digitally enhanced image on the right. Credit: Dianelos Georgoudis/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 3.0

The shroud, which some believe to be Christ’s burial cross, was first put on public display at a church in Lirey, France in 1354.

It has a full-sized image of a man burned into the cloth, which reveals an individual with a beard and long hair.

Jesus as the Good Shepherd, 3rd Century, St. Callisto catacomb in Rome
Jesus as the Good Shepherd, 3rd Century, St. Callisto catacomb in Rome, Public Domain

Before the discovery of the shroud, Jesus was typically portrayed as having short hair and beardless, which would have been the fashion at the time.

One of the earliest known renderings of Christ, found in the St. Callisto catacomb in Rome, pictures Jesus as the Good Shepherd and carrying a lamb on his shoulders.

That image which is dated to the third century has Jesus with short hair and no beard. Other images of Christ found in the catacombs dated to the third and fourth centuries similarly portray Jesus in this way.

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