Gold Appliqué in the Form of a Cross

Date: ca. 600

Culture: Langobardic

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: Overall: 1 5/16 x 1 5/16in. (3.3 x 3.3cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Gold

Credit Line: Purchase, 1895

Accession Number: 95.15.79


The Langobards of Italy adopted the custom of sewing one or more undecorated crosses on the shrouds of the deceased. The origin and meaning of the custom, which was specific to the Langobards, remain uncertain. This cross, along with four others (acc. nos. 95.15.80–.83), was found in the grave of a Langobardic horseman, who was buried in his warrior costume with weapons, shield, helmet, and horse fittings. Five crosses is an exceptionally large number from a single grave and offers testimony to the warrior's high rank.