Renaissance-era wedding ring of Bohemian queen found in family tomb

A wedding ring belonging to the last Rožmberk couple has been discovered in South Bohemia.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 07.11.2022 17:54:00 (updated on 07.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Třeboň, South Bohemia, Nov 7 (ČTK) – Research has proven that a ring found in the noble Rožmberk family's tomb in the Vyšší Brod monastery is the wedding ring of the last Rožmberk couple, Petr Vok of Rožmberk and Kateřina of Ludanice, Czech archaeologists told the media.

The permanent exhibition "The Gold of the Rožmberks" is scheduled to open in the monastery in May 2023.

The Renaissance-era gold woman's ring was discovered on the lid of Petr Vok's casket at the very start of research into his underground tomb in 2011.

Engraving of Petr Vok of Rožmberk. Public domain.
Engraving of Petr Vok of Rožmberk. Public domain.

More recently, experts made a 3D scan of the jewel, which is decorated with enamel and gems – likely two rubies and five emeralds – and has an unusual asymmetric shape that recalls the "gimmel" or joint bands that were popular wedding rings in 16th-century England and Germany.

"Until their wedding, the man and the woman each wore his and her half of the ring, and the halves were united at the wedding," geoinformatics specialist Jiří Šindelář told ČTK, adding that the woman's part of the ring was discovered in the tomb.

The ring, worn by Kateřina of Ludanice (1565–1601), is a luxurious massive jewel comparable with those worn by Bohemian Queen Anna Jagellonica, Šindelář said.

Archaeologists provided the photos and digital model of the ring to goldsmiths, who created a copy of it.

Research into the open wooden casket standing next to Petr Vok's showed that it is probably the casket of Kateřina. Besides luxurious clothes, there is a highly recognizable and richly decorated dress bedecked with gold jewels, Šindelář said.

Archaeologists confirmed the exact location of the tomb in 2011 and confirmed that besides Petr Vok, another 38 members of the Rozmberk family had been buried there.

The research refutes the legend that says the Rožmberk do not lie in their caskets but were buried sitting around a table.

A digital copy of Vok's sarcophagus has been created, including all of its adornments.

Petr Vok, who died on Nov. 6, 1611, was the last offspring of the old and once-powerful Rožmberk family. After his death, the entrance to the tomb was closed by a stone and its location was forgotten. The entrance was rediscovered again after three centuries, in 1902.

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