BYZANTINE ENKOLPION CROSS WITH MOTHER MARY AND CHILD
Measurements: 6.5 - height
Description: A Byzantine bronze enkolpion reliquary cross featuring a hinged base and a suspension loop for wear. The front is decorated with the incised image of Mother Mary and the Child, sided by two figures, probably St. Peter and St. John. Above her, written in Greek, is the inscription "Panagia", Παναγία, meaning the Most Holy. Depicted on the reverse is the figure of a Saint.
Such a cross, also known as an enkolpion, could have been worn as a pectoral cross, which, during the Middle Ages, was an attribute of bishops. Throughout the centauries a great number of crosses were made to hold a secondary relic in them containing pieces of saints’ clothing, pieces of the True Cross or hair fragments, and so on. Crosses offered protection to the wearer and would have been available all over the Byzantine Empire.
Extremely Fine condition; complete and intact; with an even, dark green patination.
Period: Circa 10th - 12th century A.D.
Condition: Fine, some minor chips to the sides, otherwise intact.