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Guelph Cross from the Guelph Treasure

Unknown1st half 12th century

Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The Guelph Cross is covered with fine filigree and contains a particle of the True Cross, displayed under rock crystal. The engolpion attached above the relic is older, and was originally made to be worn as a pectoral cross. This gold cloisonné enamel, made in the 11th century, reveals Byzantine influence. It shows a crucifix surrounded by busts of Mary, John the Evangelist, and the Archangel Michael. According to the inscription on the back, the Guelph Cross also contains relics of the Apostles Peter and Mark, of John the Baptist, and of Saint Sebastian. The ‘geniuses of death’ with their lowered torches on the foot, and the pillar above them, which can be identified as a symbol of victory, build on ancient iconography and identify the Guelph Cross as a ‘reliquary grave’.

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  • Title: Guelph Cross from the Guelph Treasure
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1st half 12th century
  • Stylistic point of origin: Lower Italy or Sicily, Italy
  • Rights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Karen Bartsch │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Lothar Lambacher
  • Physical Dimensions: w12.5 x h33.1 cm
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018417
  • Historical location: Braunschweig, St Blasius
  • Provenance: Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Type: Reliquary cross
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kunstgewerbemuseum/home.html
  • Medium: Cloisonné enamel on gold in the Senkschmelz or ‘sunk’ technique; gold plate, gold filigree, niello, gemstones, pearls; wood core; foot: cast silver, parcel-gilt

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