Date: ca. 1200â€“1220
Geography: Made in Limoges, France
Medium: Copper: formed, engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevĂ© enamel: medium and light blue, light green, yellow, red, and white; glass cabochons
Dimensions: Overall: 9 1/8 x 5 1/16 x 2 3/4 in. (23.1 x 12.8 x 7 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number: 17.190.833a, b
As early as the sixth century, the pastoral staff, or crozier, conveyed the authority of a bishop, abbot, or abbess. The volute of this elegant example is in the form of a serpent grasping an enameled flower in its mouth. The volute's imagery resembles that found on other enamel croziers from Limoges. It alludes to the rod of Moses that, in the presence of Pharaoh, miraculously turned into a serpent at the command of God, and to the flowering rod of Aaron, symbol of his election to the priesthood by God (Exod. 7:9â€“12; Num. 17:6â€“8).