Segment of a Crozier Shaft

North Spanish

On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

Croziers, sometimes made of ivory, were important symbols of the authority of the Western Church. This ivory formed part of the shaft of a crozier that was surmounted either by a crook or a T-shaped cross known as a tau. The shaft segment is divided into four horizontal bands. At the top is Jesus enthroned and surrounded by the Elders of the Apocalypse. The enthroned Virgin and Child appear on the opposite side. Angels dressed as clergy populate the two central registers. The lowest register depicts the heavenly investiture of the bishop, for whom this crozier perhaps was made. The richly animated drapery and technical virtuosity of the carving are almost without parallel in twelfth-century ivory sculpture. Elements of its style and iconography—such as the highly unusual inhabited mandorla surrounding Jesus—can be found in northern Spanish art.

Segment of a Crozier Shaft, Elephant ivory, North Spanish

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