Pectoral Cross, 1200–1400
Gold, pearls; H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
Purchase, John C. Weber Gift, in honor of Pete Dandridge, 2005 (2005.38)
Byzantine interest in elaborate small religious works made for personal adornment is clearly reflected in this elegant cross. Careful study by the Museum's Objects Conservation laboratory identified the varied techniques—gold filigree, granulation, and wire laid over sheets of gold—used to create the sophisticated interplay of patterns, light, and shadow on the front and back surfaces of the cross. While its shape, with flared arms ending in roundels, is long known in Byzantium, the metalwork decoration relates the cross to the empire's last centuries. Similar designs appear on earrings and other decorative works of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries from throughout the Late Byzantine sphere, especially Greece and the Balkans.