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Ref  NN5   I Am Enslaved By Your Eyes

A pair of silver bell earrings, circa 1875, probably by Castellani. The four sides of each bell are engraved with a Greek inscription which translates as 'I am enslaved by your eyes' [British Museum translation]. An ancient golden bell with the same inscription was discovered on the Esquiline Hill in Rome in 1873. It made its way into the personal collection of Alessandro Castellani, who thereafter created a series of silver bells based on the ancient model. The ancient bell excited much contemporary attention as its inscription was believed to a magical invocation to ward off the evil eye. In 1883 it was the subject of a lengthy treatise by Greek literature Professor J. P. Rossignol who concluded it was fake, although he had not seen it in person. As Geoffrey Munn points out, jewels of dubious provenance were often assumed to be genuine and of particular charm by 19th century craftsmen and were used as models for their archaeological pastiches. The original golden bell was sold at the Castellani sale in Paris in 1884 and has not been traced since. A silver bell similar to these earrings is illustrated on plate 101 of Munn's publication, Castellani and Giuliano. The earrings are 1 and 3/4 inches long and 1/2 an inch wide across the base of the bells. Magical.

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Plate 101 in Munn's Castellani and Giuliano

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