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Wonderful Byzantine Bronze Reliquary Cross

$1,495.00
Near East/Holy Land, Byzantine Empire, ca. 8th to 12th century CE. A lovely cast-bronze reliquary, made from three parts, consisting of two crosses that fit together, and a large loop for suspension. One face has a standing Christ figure with letters incised above his head: "HONTC". The other face has an abstract design that calls to mind the medieval conception of the Earth's place in the heavens. A round depression in the center of this side may have had an inlaid piece of precious metal or a gem. While the cross was once able to be opened to hold a small relic or a prayer document, both halves have fused together over time. Size: 1.95" W x 4.15" H (5 cm x 10.5 cm)

Relics - physical remains of saints or objects associated with Christ, such as pieces of the True Cross, the shroud His body was wrapped in, or the Holy Grail - held tremendous power in medieval Christianity. Reliquaries, objects designed to hold relics, were usually kept in cathedrals or churches, but some wealthy individuals were able to possess them. The less wealthy could purchase replicas of reliquaries, small reliquaries containing less precious items like soil from a holy site, or metal items produced as a form of souvenir from shrines. Later, many of these objects were destroyed in times of religious conflict or strife; ones that are intact have often been passed down through generations of families.

Condition: Cross halves cannot be opened. Age-commensurate surface wear, minor areas of loss to incised cross designs, especially on one side, earthen deposits in recessed areas and near hinges. Attractive dark green patina adorns most of the surface with nicely preserved motifs.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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