Ca. AD 800-1000
A cast-bronze Byzantine reliquary cross pendant with two cruciform plaques that open for relic or document storage. The pendant depicts the crucified Christ in delicate low relief.
Relics, the physical remains of a holy site or holy person, or objects with which they had contact, were revered as early as the 3rd century AD and remained potent symbolic objects in medieval Christianity. Cross-shaped pendants were a very popular choice in the Byzantine Empire and were made from a range of materials to cater to all levels of society. Enclosing such relics within pendants was a practice believed to combine with the talismanic qualities of the cross-shape in order to protect the owner from harm and evil. Comes with a modern necklace cord and is wearable.
Provenance: Private UK collection; formerly, from an old London collection formed in the 1990s.
MASSIVE BYZANTINE BRONZE RELIQUARY CROSS PENDANT
L: 165mm / W: 80mm ; 275g