Head of a Crozier with a Serpent Devouring a Flower


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304

As early as the sixth century, the pastoral staff, or crozier, conveyed the authority of a bishop, abbot, or abbess. The serpent and flower are frequently combined on enamel croziers from Limoges. They allude 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.

Head of a Crozier with a Serpent Devouring a Flower, Copper: formed, engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: medium and light blue, light green, yellow, red, and white; glass cabochons, French

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