Temple rings (temporal rings) were part of Slavic, Scandinavian and others’ medieval women’s dress. Most were made of base metals such as copper alloys or iron, though silver and even gold were occasionally used. These were known as temple rings because they were worn on the head, near the temples of a woman or a girl.
A temple ring may also refer to an altar ring used in rites at a temple in Germanic paganism.
Slavic temple rings
Temple rings were characteristic decorations of Slavic women. Different tribes had their own designs and they were made out of various metals. The rings were attached to a string that became part of a headdress or they were woven directly into braids of hair. The earliest archeological evidence of temple rings was found in the Catacomb culture, Unetice culture and Karasuk culture. Later they were also found in the Chernoles culture. Temple rings were most popular between the 8th and 12th centuries, possibly influenced by the Arab and Byzantine cultures.
In later fashion styles, a temple ring was replaced by the kolt hanging from a ryasna.
Types of Slavic temple rings
- Ethnic origin: Ramensk, Radimichs, Severians
- Region: Kursk Oblast
- Time period: 8th-12th centuries
Wire rings with a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, with the ends tied in a knot. Sometimes additional dandles or bangles were added to the ring.
- Ethnic origin: Krivichs
- Region: Vitebsk Region, Minsk Region, Pskov Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Smolensk Oblast
- Time period: 5th-7th centuries
Bronze rings with the shape of a lozenge either hammered into the ring or attached.
- Ethnic origin: Ilmen Slavs
- Region: Gatchinsky District, Novgorod Oblast.
- Ethnic origin: Vyatichi
- Region: Moscow Oblast
- Ethnic origin: Severians
- Region: Kursk Oblast, Poltava Oblast
- Ethnic origin: Dregovichs
- Region: Kiev Oblast, Chernihiv Oblast