Important Complete Enkolpion with Christ and Virgin
Circa 9th-11th Century AD
Description: Complete bronze reliquary cross (enkolpion) with artful depiction of Jesus Christ with intricately styled flowing robes, an ornate halo also symbolic of a crown of thorns, and outstretched arms with a cross on each side symbolic of the nail piercings. His feet, each with a nail piercing, protrude from below his garment. Inscribed above with the abbreviated form of Jesus Christ. The reverse depicts a figure with arms outstretched in prayer wearing beautifully detailed robes with Panaghia inscription above. Scholars believe that these early crosses are intended as expressions of theology rather than intended as realistic depictions of the suffering of Christ on the cross. Superbly preserved.
Height: 3.3 in (8.4 cm) from end to end of chain.
Condition: Intact with superb patina on both sides. Hinge at bottom intact.
Background: Panaghia (also transliterated as Panagia and Panayia), meaning “All Holy,” was the title given to the Virgin after her motherhood of Christ was confirmed at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD.
Reference: See PITARAKIS, #236, for related iconography, and also TEMPLE, #57, for a reliquary cross with Panaghia.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of the Boston scholar Carroll Wales, collected 1952-1970.
Copyright © 2012 by Fragments of Time - ALL