Processional Cross


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

This cross conveys the luxury found within churches that dotted the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain during the Middle Ages. It comes from a twelfth-century church fifty miles east of Oviedo, once the capital of the kingdom of Asturias. The cross shows a crowned, crucified Jesus flanked on the cross’ arms by the Virgin Mary and Saint John. An angel appears at the top, as Adam rises from his grave at the bottom. A rock crystal above Jesus’ head covers a cavity that still holds an unidentified relic. Gilded filigree bars attached to each of the arms of the cross served as settings for an array of gems, including antique intaglios. Only two remain—one showing an ancient figure of Victory, and the other a male nude with a fish and spear—both prized embellishments suitable for a sumptuous object. A Latin inscription on the reverse reads: “In honor of the Holy Savior: Sanccia [Sancha] Guidisalvi had me made.” The feminine ending of Sanccia indicates that the donor, or possibly the goldsmith, was a woman.

Processional Cross, Silver, partially gilt on wood core, carved gems, jewels, Spanish

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.