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Russian Reliquary Cross d.1791


Regular price POA
Regular price Sale price £18,500.00
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An incredible Russian Orthodox Reliquary Cross dated 1791.

Created in silver gilt with the most dramatic “repoussé” silver work.

With the image of Christ on The Cross at the centre, the Madonna to the left, St Mary Magdalene to the right. The Tzar is represented as the Father of the Orthodox Church above the figure of Christ, in a God like image as he was seen as representing God on Earth. On this occasion most likely depicting Peter I.
(It is worth noting Cathrine II was actually on the Russian throne at this time and both were members of the Romanov Dynasty.)

Christ’s feet rest upon a skull symbolic of mortality, while below St Peter looks upon a cockerel representing the three times he denied Christ.

Imbued with symbolism and metaphor, the lower section of the reliquary is adorned with a large amount of signs and symbols including the Roman Soldiers sword, the ‘spear of destiny’, and a raised hand to name but a few.

The reverse is decorated with religious, descriptive text in old Russian.

Wonderfully and importantly, this piece contains a carved wooden cross to which bone and wooden relics are attached and imbedded with resin. The details of which we can only imagine as their original relevance and meaning history have been lost to time.

An amazing centre piece for any collection.

Similar piece can be found in the V&A Museum no. 1927-1898.

  • Width: 20 cm (7.87″)
  • Height: 32 cm (12.6″)
  • Depth: 3 cm (1.18″)