Processional Cross

Unknown author14th-15th century

Grão Vasco National Museum

Grão Vasco National Museum
Viseu, Portugal

Besides the engraved plant motifs, this cross, decorated with fleur-de-lys at the ends, also has the Tetramorph engraved into each of its arms and stem - the lion, with the fantastic appearance of a gryphon, the ox and the eagle. All that is missing is the figuration of the angel. The different type of incision used for engraving the ox and the lion leads us to think that these were added later. On the front, engraved with the same plant motifs, is the Agnus Dei in the centre of the composition.
The figuration of Christ on the cross is very archaic. It is the triumphant image of a resurrected, crowned Christ, with a long robe stretching to his knees, and not yet the suffering Christ of the late Middle Ages. There is apparently a certain redundancy in this representation, for now we see not only the empty cross with the Tetramorph, from the Romanesque period, but also the figure of the crucified Christ and the Agnus Dei, thus giving special emphasis to the idea of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.


  • Title: Processional Cross
  • Creator: Unknown author
  • Date Created: 14th-15th century
  • Physical Location: Grâo Vasco Nacional Museum, Viseu, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 52 cm x 41.5 cm x 4 cm
  • Type: Sculture
  • Rights: © DGPC/ADF/Photographer::Alexandra Pessoa, 2016
  • Medium: Copper beaten, incised and relieved

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