Signet Ring of Amenhotep II
Solid-cast gold signet ring with swiveling rectangular bezel inscribed on one side with the throne name of King Amenhotep II and epithets: “the perfect god, son of Amun, mighty lord” [nTr nfr sA imn nb xpS]; and on the other side, “the one who fights against hundred thousands, son of Re, Amenhotep, divine ruler of Heliopolis” [aHA Hfnw sA ra imn-hTp nTr HqA iwnw].
The Egyptians primarily used signet, or seal, rings, in which a seal engraved on the bezel can be used to authenticate documents by the wearer. Egyptian seal rings typically had the name and titles of the owner deeply sunk in hieroglyphic characters on an oblong gold bezel.
Originating from the Latin word “signum” meaning “sign”, signet rings originated amongst religious leaders and kings. These rings were used to mark and seal documents by pressing the face which were historically marked with a unique family crest, into hot wax.
The ring was likely to have been given as a gift to one of Amenhotep’s officials and can be compared with a ring inscribed with the prenomen of Amenhotep father, King Thutmose III, known now as the ‘Ashburnham Ring’ (British Museum, EA71492) which formed part of the burial assemblage of General Djehuty, whose tomb was discovered in the 1820s at Saqqara.
New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, reign of Amenhotep II, ca. 1427-1400 BC. Made of solid gold. Dimensions: 33 x 30 x 6 mm. Now in the World Museum, National Museums Liverpool. M11437