File:Ethiopian - Hand Cross - Walters 61342.jpg

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Hand Cross
Anonymous (Ethiopia)
Unknown author
Hand Cross
English: Hand-held crosses, called hand or benediction crosses, are carried by Ethiopian priests and offered to the faithful to be kissed during church services. Made out of metal or wood, the crosses are also used by priests to bless holy water and to perform exorcisms. Beginning in the 16th century, hand crosses also appear as signs of victory in icons and manuscripts, where they are held by saints, archangels, and even the resurrected Christ. This object has a conventional design, but the cross in the center appears in silhouette. As a result, during benedictions this opening could be used to project a cruciform shadow onto the object or person receiving the blessing. The rectangular base may be interpreted as a reference to the tabot, or carved altar box, venerated by Ethiopian Christians.
Date 17th century
date QS:P571,+1650-00-00T00:00:00Z/7
(Early Modern)
Medium wood
medium QS:P186,Q287
Dimensions 37 × 16 × 2.2 cm (14.5 × 6.2 × 0.8 ″)
institution QS:P195,Q210081
Accession number
Place of creation Ethiopia
Object history
  • Anonymous dealer, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Richard Hubbard Howland, 1963, by purchase
  • : given to Walters Art Museum
Exhibition history Angels of Light: Ethiopian Art from the Walters Art Museum. Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton; Museum of Biblical Art, New York. 2006-2007.
Credit line Gift of Richard Hubbard Howland, 1998
Source Walters Art Museum: Nuvola filesystems folder home.svg Home page Information icon.svg Info about artwork
(Reusing this file)
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current19:38, 22 March 2012Thumbnail for version as of 19:38, 22 March 2012994 × 1,800 (1.89 MB)File Upload Bot (Kaldari)== {{int:filedesc}} == {{Walters Art Museum artwork |artist = Ethiopian |title = ''Hand Cross'' |description = {{en|Hand-held crosses, called hand or benediction crosses, are carried by Ethiopian priests and offered to the fa...
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