Rings in cultural history and narrative research

Stories about vanished rings, whether found again in the belly of a fish or – as at Merseburg – pilfered by the raven, illustrate by means of their loss the special importance of the jewellery for the owners. Around the world, magic rings have to be retrieved adventurously in a variety of fairy tales. Specific »rings of power« pertain to the ubiquitous magic rings: aristocratic family talismans, for example the Dessau »Toad Ring« of the House of Anhalt. The fortune of the dynasty was inseparably linked to them. Rings manifest – as symbols of loyalty – bonds, such as the Ring of Recognition which on his return the lost husband throws into his wife’s cup. An engagement ring, slipped on a statue, is a magical prop of literary material popular since the 12th century. The loss of a ring is considered an ill omen: If faith is broken, the ring breaks in two.

Klaus Graf: Ringe in Kulturgeschichte und Erzählforschung. In: Ringe der Macht. Hrsg. von Harald Meller u.a. (= Tagungen des Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle 21), Halle 2019, S. 163-176 (Images!). Online at: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:29409

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