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Home > Auctions > 5th February 2014 > Crusader Iron Processional or Military Standard Cross

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LOT 0845

GBP (£) 50,000 - 80,000
EUR (€) 59,190 - 94,710
USD ($) 63,830 - 102,140

58 3/4" (15 kg including stand, 149.5 cm excluding stand).

An iron processional or military standard cross adumbrating Byzantine style with trefoil terminals, bronze crosses and other decorative appliqués applied by rivets; the lower shaft a hollow cone to house a (probably) wooden shaft.

Property of a European gentleman living in London; acquired in the UK, in 1967.

The most credible hypothesis as to the use and date of this cross is that it is a military standard, confirmed by its lack of precious ornamentation as with ecclesiastical crosses of the period. That it appertains to the Crusaders is confirmed by its general style, which does not exactly coincide with actual Byzantine models. For a corpus of Byzantine crosses see: John A. Cotsonis, Byzantine Figural Crosses Washington DC (Dumbarton Oaks), 1994. The tripartite terminals reflect normal Byzantine style, save that the central element is not present in Byzantine processional crosses for church use and may reflect military ferocity suggesting spearheads typical of their time. The central ‘spearheads’ are paralleled on a bronze socketed processional cross (26.5cm. 10.5 in.) attributed to Constantinople or Asia Minor, 11th-12th century in date, in a private New York collection (Exhibition: The Glory of Byzantium AD. 843-1261 Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1997, No.21A). A further example of this rare type of terminal is also on a bronze socketted processional cross (15 cm; 6" high) in a private collection in Munich attributed to the 12th century. (Exhibition: Byzanz - Das Licht aus dem Osten Paderborn, 2001. No.1.52.1).
In addition, the style might represent a model made in preparation for military action on the journey to the Holy Land and perhaps in eastern Europe rather than east of Constantinople. Further confirmation of this hypothesis is that Byzantine processional crosses are hafted onto a tine rather than, as in this example and others cited above, by a conical socket. In short, the size of this cross seems to be unparalleled although some of its features are recorded.