Monday, March 11, 2013

Ethiopian Processional Cross

In Ethiopia, the cross as a Christian symbol has been developed with more variety of form than anywhere else in the world. The first crosses known in Ethiopia were probably imported from early Christian Egypt around 400 A.D., but the motif eventually took on aesthetics not found elsewhere in Christian culture. This was due to familiar symbols such as the triangle, circle, and also the cross already being in use in pagan belief systems, as well as the special way in which the Abyssinian church absorbed the influences of both its Judaic roots and artistic ideas from Persia, Armenia, and the Islamic world.

This beautiful medieval cross, which is of the processional type, was exquisitely cast with rounded, echoing forms, and would have been held aloft as the finial of a staff or pike. A native repair has been made with the application of metal wire.

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Metal, wire
13th–14th century
H: 8"
Collected by Joseph Knopfelmacher in Ethiopia in the 1970's

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