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HOME : Byzantine Art : Byzantine Crosses : Byzantine Bronze Cross
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Byzantine Bronze Cross - FJ.6760
Origin: Israel
Circa: 600 AD to 1100 AD
Dimensions: 1.25" (3.2cm) high
Collection: Byzantine Art
Medium: Bronze-Gold-Sapphire

Location: United States
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This Ancient Cross Has Been Set in a Modern 18 Karat Gold Pendant Completed by Four Sapphire Highlights

Though the cross is one of the simplest of forms, it is probably the most poignant. For Christians, the cross is the most potent symbol in existence, representing the earthly suffering, spiritual liberation, resurrection, and eternal life of Jesus Christ. The fact that an instrument of death was turned into a symbol of spiritual rebirth is amazing in itself. This is especially true for the faithful, and the Byzantine age was certainly one of fervent piety and extreme fanaticism. In terms of religious expression, this lovely cross falls into the category of gentle piousness and deep devotion. This Latin-shaped cross has been incised with a representation of Mary. The Virgin is shown with her arms outstretched in prayer, bent upward towards the heavens. This specific pose is known as the Virgin Orans, meaning “Praying Virgin.” The forms of figure have been abstracted, especially regarding her lack of facial features. This suggestive style heightens the spirituality of the work, for it is the idea of the holiness of the Virgin that is the focus, not her physicality. The Virgin is surrounded by four busts, one on each arm of the cross. These figures most likely represent the four gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are shown on other similar examples holding books, thus confirming their identity. Here, the books are suggested by small triangles at the base of the busts that have worn away over the ages almost to the point of indecipherability. This personal relic does not shout of pain and passion, it is instead an elegant reminder of the one event central to Christianity its witnesses and recorders. Though worn publicly, it does not flaunt its creed; but proclaims the wearer is sharing the quiet joys of faith while basking in the lavish luxury and rarity of this precious piece.
- (FJ.6760)


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