BYZANTINE CROSS - Gold and Garnet, Circa 600-900 AD
A museum quality Early Christian cross crafted of nearly pure gold
A large pectoral cross, constructed of high carat gold with fluted arms, of square cross-section, tapering toward a central circular bezel set with a beautiful red garnet cabochon, and a ribbed suspension loop on the upper bar so the cross could be suspended from a chain. The central shaft is hollow to accept a holy relic. Very attractive surface with evidence of use, loop dented, but intact.
For a similar cross, see Gonosova and Kondoleon, Art of Late Rome and Byzantium, no. 38 (Virginia Museum of fine art). Another Byzantine gold cross with cabochon from the same time period was in Christies December 2001 auction, lot #148.
Provenance: English Private Collection “AD”, ex London Gallery – Atticart LTD.
Byzantine lives were centered on an ordered Christian hierarchy offering salvation through Christ. By the 5th and 6th centuries, the cross replaced the Chi-Rho as the standard emblem of religious devotion. Its meaning transcended that of the simple monogram to visually recall the crucifixion. The cross was worn by individuals from every social stratum, from the elaborate bejeweled golden cross of the patriarch to the simple crosses of the common man.
(60 x 45 mm – 2 3/8” Tall – Weight: 8.29 gm)