Why rings are so special for men and women? What do they represent in our imaginary and in our subconscious?
A ring: the never-ending love, the infinite relationship with the other one. The shape of the ring, round, in general gold, gives a sense of precious love and an endless love-story.
But how much important is the ring as distinctive element in our society passing through the history of jewelry?
It's what will explain to us in this wonderful, captivating, fascinating, sexy and sensual trip Wendy Doniger in her latest book: The Ring of Truth and other myths of sex and jewelry published by Oxford University Press.
A ring is not just a ring. A ring is sensuality, sexuality, a strong symbolism of loyalty or infidelity, a mask for infidelities, a passionate sensual game for obtaining what we want to obtain, a horrible object hiding a terrible past.
A ring has a great power: the power of love, hate, destruction, memory, loss of memory, and in the past, rings were also associated to abandoned children.
In general these poor moms put in the basket close to their babies a little jewel.
In some case this object was a ring. In most cases these moms being illiterate couldn't add anything else, not a message to the posterity for their beloved children for explaining why, with the death in their heart constricted to abandon them. A ring was a gift for remembering them the family where they were from.
When a man declares his love to a girl presents her a ring.
Symbolically it's like to close a circle in term of affectivity, sensuality and sexuality as you will discover. The choice has been done and the ring means that the girl is under the man's power.
The story of Cinderella will "shock" you because revisited under a sexual "vision", the story of King Solomon the wise man able to speak with every creature is treated for remarking the importance of a lost object like a ring later found again in his case while he was eating a fish. There are several versions of this story in the book.
We find Boccaccio with the tale from the Decameron of the clever wife, but also the love-story of Tristan and Isolde, the ones by Shakespeare where rings are centrals for sorting out stories, passing through the big scandal that would have brought Marie Antoinette Queen of France in a difficult position and would have increased the big hate felt by french folk for monarchy, Louis XVI and this Queen in particular with also tales written by Dumas and other french writers, who with their fertile imagination tried to guess or imagining the real version of the facts.
The most painful chapter the one of incestuous love with examples taken also by Indian literature. Suggestive the chapter all dedicated to Indians and their relationship with jewels and rings.
Thanks to modern literature, let's remember Henry James, Somerset Maugham, we will explore another side of the story of ring and jewelry after the painful chapter dedicated to Marie Antoinette Queen of France: the one of the slut assumption. Jewelry are pretty expensive and of course if they can't be presented or bought there are some ethical problems: where these jewels come from? Is this fruit of a honest relationship?
No, of course.
It's not forgotten Hollywood with Marylin Monroe iconic symbol of that phrase passed at the History: "Diamonds are girls's best friends,"
and with many anecdotes from movies and stars and ads remembering that diamonds are indestructible and that's why they are picked up for cementing with a good ring a solid union.
The book is clear, written with great warm, love, passion, continuously stimulating, the example taking in consideration for explaining the story of the ring through myth, legends, literature very interesting.
I know for sure that this book will be loved by everyone!
I thank Oxford University Press for this beautiful book!
Anna Maria Polidori