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Pendant Cross with Crown and Star of David

Arts of Africa

On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
Ethiopian Crosses
Christianity most likely arrived in Ethiopia in the first century. The conversion of King Ezana in 330 c.e. led to its official acceptance and the minting of coins bearing one of the earliest uses of the cross as a Christian symbol. Although the silver pendant crosses in the Museum’s collection are from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, their forms have a considerably longer history, as the much older copper, wood, and iron crosses here demonstrate.

Hand crosses, which are used by priests, are either hand-held or suspended from a cord around the neck. They are kissed by the faithful to receive a blessing. Processional crosses are carried on long poles in religious processions. Prayer staffs are used to mark rhythms during sacred dances and as supports to lean on while standing for long hours during Orthodox church services. Together, all of these crosses are emblems of the Ethiopian Orthodox church’s ongoing authority.
DATES 19th or 20th centuries
DIMENSIONS 2 3/8 x 1 3/8 in. (6.0 x 3.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
CREDIT LINE Gift of George V. Corinaldi Jr.
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CAPTION Amhara. Pendant Cross with Crown and Star of David, 19th or 20th centuries. Silver, 2 3/8 x 1 3/8 in. (6.0 x 3.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George V. Corinaldi Jr., 79.72.6. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE group, CUR.79.72.1-.9_print_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Silver neck cross in the shape of the Star of David with an equilateral cross in the center. To the superior arm is attached by a hinge, a small crown surmounted by a ring for suspension. The cross and crown are decorated on one side only with an applique patter of small dots. The arms of the Cross of David terminate in small circles. Condition: Good, evidence of wear. The hinge portion is particularly worn and thin and must be handled with care.
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