An important ormolu mounted rock crystal processional cross. Spanish, late 13th - early 14th century, the ormolu mounts early 16th century.
Measures 60 x 33cm (excluding perspex stand).
The cross comprises of 11 pieces of cut rock crystal, hollowed & supported by internal metal rods. The arms of the cross terminate with stylised fleur-de-lis which Hans Hahnloser gave the name ‘lily crosses’ in his survey of medieval rock crystal crosses in 1985.
Rock crystal crosses of this nature were highly fashionable during this period & many can be found in important treasuries across Europe. The mystical nature of this material, believed to be ice frozen so deeply that it could not melt again would have been a rare & enchanting sight in the Middle Ages. The cross would have been carried during processions & ceremonies, the light of the candle would have danced through & upon the facets of the crystal and glittered off the gilding.
The ormolu mounts date to the early 16th century, the original structure of the cross was most likely damaged & due to its importance, a highly skilled goldsmith was employed with the task of restoring the cross in the fashionable Renaissance style. Each of the Fleur-de-lis terminals are adorned with turned finials as well as flattened finials to the centre of the cross. Winged putti adorn each side of the centre of the cross which is pierced to expose the rock crystal structure. The stem of the cross is engraved with a repeating pattern typical of Renaissance decoration & fixed to a modern perspex display stand.
Ref: Hans. R. Hahnloser, Susanne Brugger-Koch, Korpus der Hartsteinschnitte des 12.-15. Jahrhunderts
Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1985
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