GOLD MICROMOSAIC 'BULLA' PENDANT, CASTELLANI, CIRCA 1860
Cf: Exhibition Catalogue: Susan Weber Soros and Stefanie Walker, Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry,The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture,Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2004, page 347 for a similar example of a bulla pendant by Alessandro Castellani.
Cf: Sotheby's Catalogue, Castellani & Giuliano, The Judith Siegel Collection, New York, 6th December 2006
Cf: Sotheby's Catalogue, Important Jewellery, New York, 9th December 1992, Lot 18 for a similar example of a bulla pendant by Castellani.
Cf: Sotheby's Catalogue, Antique and Contemporary Jewels, London, 13th June 2007, Lot 300, for a similar example of a bulla micromosaic pendant of similar period, unsigned.
Cf: Amanda Triossi and Daniela Mascetti, 'The Necklace, From Antiquity To The Present', Thames and Hudson, 1997, pages 34-35 for examples of bulla.
In Ancient Rome a bulla, worn like a locket, was given to children by their families on the occasion of their birth, it was worn as an amulet to protect against evil spirits. Bulla could be made of many different materials which was dependent upon the wealth of the owner. Often they were made of leather, poor families might have one of cotton but the wealthier families would have bullae of gold or silver.
A girl would wear her bulla until the eve of her marriage, when it was removed and kept with other childhood possessions, a boy however would continue to wear his bulla until he became a Roman citizen and then would only be worn on special occasions as a protective talisman.