Therapeutic properties

Why did Pushkin wear a ring on his thumb?

Almost everyone, probably, remembers the famous classic verse about the talisman from school. The work ends with the lines: Holy sweet deception A magical luminary of the soul. It hid, changed. Guard me, my talisman. May the eternity of heart wounds It won’t spoil the memory. Farewell hope; sleep, desire; Guard me, my talisman. Probably, many will be interested to know that this mysterious talisman was. a Karaite ring with a Hebrew inscription. Who gave young Pushkin this ring? During the period of exile in Odessa, the poet fell passionately in love with Elizaveta Ksaverevna Vorontsova, the wife of Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov, Governor-General of Novorossiya. She reciprocated his feelings. When parting with the poet on August 1, 1824, Elizaveta Ksaveryevna gave Pushkino this ring. The ring was made of gold, with a carnelian insert, on which was an inscription in Hebrew. This was not an ordinary ring, but a signet ring used to seal correspondence. For this reason, the Hebrew inscription on the carnelian insert was made, as they say, “in the negative,” and a “positive” (i.e., correct) reading of the inscription was possible by imprinting the inscription on sealing wax or wax. Above the inscription there is a floral ornament, apparently an image of bunches of grapes. In Karaite and Jewish tradition, grapes symbolized fertility and the people of Israel in general. Vorontsova kept the second ring, similar to this one. From the memoirs of Pushkin’s sister O.S. Pavlishcheva knows that “when a letter arrived from Odessa with a seal decorated with exactly the same cabalistic signs that were on her brother’s ring, the latter locked himself in his room, did not go out anywhere and did not receive anyone.” There is no doubt that here we are talking about the correspondence of the poet with E.K. Vorontsova, who sealed the correspondence with the same ring as Pushkin. How these two rings with Hebrew inscriptions got to Vorontsova, one can only guess. The fact is that her husband, M.S. Vorontsov, at whom the poet laughed so caustically, repeatedly communicated with wealthy Karaite families from Crimea. For example, it is known that such prominent Karaite figures as Abraham and Gabriel Firkovich, as well as the Odessa Karaite gazzan (community leader) Solomon Beim, who gave S.M., were familiar with the Vorontsov family. Vorontsov (son of M.S. Vorontsov) an excerpt from a valuable Hebrew manuscript of the 14th century. Apparently, in order to appease the powerful governor, one of the representatives of the Karaite community gave him two massive Karaite rings. It is possible that this donor was Simcha, son of Joseph, whose name is written on one of the rings. Later, one of the rings went to Vorontsov’s wife; she gave the second one to the lover Pushkin. In subsequent years, Vorontsova and Pushkin sealed their secret correspondence with these rings. According to B.V. Annenkov, the poet believed in the mystical properties of the ring: “Pushkin, due to his well-known inclination towards superstition, even connected his talent with the fate of a ring, dotted with some kind of Kabbalistic signs and carefully kept by him.” The poet wore this massive ring on his index finger or thumb. It can be seen in two classic portraits of Pushkin by V. Tropinin and K. Mather. Pushkin even left a sketch of his own hand with this ring on his index finger. In the distance in the same picture you can see a certain lady – apparently, an image of E.K. Vorontsova. Several letters from the poet, sealed with this ring, have also survived. In fact, the inscription on Pushkin’s talisman did not contain any mystical secrets. In the 19th century, the inscription on the ring was translated by such famous Hebraic scholars as Z. Minor, O. I. Bonet, as well as two avid enemies who studied the history of the Karaites – A. Ya. Garkavi and D. A. Khvolson. The inscription on the ring, which Pushkin believed to be a quotation from the Koran, was in fact left in Hebrew by the Karaite owner of the ring and contained his name: “Simha b[en] k[vod] r[av] Yosef a-zaken z[ichrono] l[ ivrakha]” (translated: “Simcha, son of the venerable master, Elder Joseph, of blessed memory”). The fact that this ring belonged specifically to a Karaite, and not to a Talmudic Jew, is evidenced by the fact that the inscription on the ring was written in Karaite cursive handwriting of the 19th century. So the famous Pushkin talisman ring originally belonged to a wealthy Karaite who lived either in the Crimea or in Odessa, which by the beginning of the 19th century also had a significant Karaite community. Unfortunately, the inscription on the second ring, which belonged to the poet’s beloved, has not reached us. It is unlikely that this inscription could repeat the inscription on Pushkin’s ring – as a rule, owner’s signet rings were made in one copy. Where did this ring go after E.K.’s death? Vorontsova, also unknown. Let us note that recently various kinds of domestic authors began to write about Pushkin’s talisman and the fate of the poet with inappropriate inventions. According to the “bold” concept of one of the modern authors (A. Zinukhov), great-grandfather A.S. Pushkin, the Arab Hannibal. was a Karaite, as a result of which Karaite blood also flows in the veins of the poet. Needless to say, these fabrications are not based on a source base. After the tragic death of Pushkin, the talisman ring successively belonged to the poet V. A. Zhukovsky, the writer I. S. Turgenev and Pauline Viardot. Perhaps the history of mankind does not know a second ring with a similar fate – it successively belonged to three outstanding Russian writers! Alas, soon after the February revolution the ring was stolen. According to newspaper reports of the time, on March 23, 1917, “in the office of the director of the Pushkin Museum, located in the building of the Alexander Lyceum, valuable items that had been preserved from the time of Pushkin were discovered missing. Among the stolen things was a gold ring, on the stone of which there was an inscription in Hebrew.” The “lyceum guy” who stole the ring sold it to some junk dealer. After this, the trace of the ring is lost. As a result, only a print with the above inscription has survived to this day – which allowed us to establish its origin. Who knows, maybe this famous ring, like Tolkien’s ring of omnipotence, lies in someone’s private collection – and sooner or later it will want to change its owner. And then, perhaps, we will again see the famous Pushkin talisman in person. A ring is a personal item, the name of which comes from the Old Slavonic root “colo-wheel”. A hoop made of metal, wood, stone, bone, or glass is most often worn on a finger and is common among most peoples of the world. The exact date of origin of the ring is unknown, but images on artifacts indicate that the tradition of wearing a ring on a finger has a very ancient history. What kind of ring did different peoples have 200-500 years ago? What do the rings of the Powerful Look like? Why has such a small item always been considered a luxury item?

Mystical properties

Traditionally, all sorts of mystical properties are attributed to the ring, about which many texts, including literary works, have been written. The mysticism of the ring is primarily associated with the mineral that is attached. You can find many reference books detailing the mystical properties of the insert. Most geniuses and historical figures paid attention to such information. A.S. Pushkin wore two rings: one with an emerald, the other with a carnelian, on his thumb, as a sign of his chosenness. His poem “Keep me safe, my talisman” is dedicated to the ring. » The plot with the healing magic of the ring is used by A.S. Pushkin in the poem “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, in the drama “The Groom”.

Rings with precious stones

R5294-11243 R8280-11613 R7817-10767 R9026-13013 R7934-10939 R8943-14285 R7448-10245

Monetary equivalent

For 10 centuries BC, the ring was used as a universal measure for calculations. The money took the form of gold (silver, copper, iron) rings, the weight of which was indicated by applying a stamp. The role of a convenient wallet was perfectly performed by the fingers. The monetary role of the ring continues today, since no one has canceled the procedure of state branding (imposition of a stamp). In the Russian state it officially exists since the decree of Peter I of February 13, 1700. Figure 1: The Chinese coin is still shaped like a ring to be worn on a cord.
Figure 2: Double ring, Rome, 1st &mdash 3rd century BC.

Rings as quote books

Rings with quotes from holy books are most common in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Among Muslims, quotations from the Koran are most often engraved in a specific script on carnelian, jade or lapis lazuli. The most popular are rings with carnelian, as such a ring was worn by the Prophet Muhammad. Texts from sacred books could be inscribed on the stone insert of the ring, on its platform, or on the inner surface of the tire. Figure 1: Six medieval Islamic rings, Persia 8th-12th century AD. The inscriptions include the names of fourteen saints, a prayer, the names of Jafar ibn Muhammad, Yazdad ibn Farukh.
Figure 2: Ring Timurid period (1370-1507), Iran.
Figure 3: Christian ring with the Lord’s prayer, England, 1676. The gold ring contains a miniature version of the Lord’s Prayer, handwritten on a tiny disk of paper less than a centimeter in diameter, under a cut piece of rock crystal.
Figure 4: On the gold ring is the Hebrew inscription Shinto (torii gate).

Professional rings

Rings were also worn for professional or everyday reasons. You can still see ring-shaped thimbles, which are used, for example, by shoemakers. Archers at one time wore three rings – on the index, middle and ring fingers, in order to protect themselves from cuts from the bowstring. In fist fights, they often used peculiar brass knuckles in the form of rings with massive inserts of stone or metal. Figure 1: Zihgir’ (archer’s ring) Ottoman Empire 16th century. Jade, gold, rubies, emerald.
Figure 2: Archer’s Ring. Middle Ages, Copper-alloy, 12th -15th century.
Figure 3: Gold ring, Italy (Venice), 14th century.
Figure 4: 16th century. Rare gold ring in the shape of a sundial and compass, possibly German. The hinged oval cover is designed for printing and engraving with the image of the coat of arms.

Ring as a signature or seal

There was a custom to wear a seal on the finger, which was equivalent to a personal signature and at the same time served as decoration. Usually such seals were worn on the index finger of the right hand. Such sealed rings with carved inscriptions or images were common in Ancient Egypt. The imprint of such a ring served as the signature of the owner. The Aegeans, Greeks and Etruscans then had seal rings.

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