Reliquary Cross with Christ and the Virgin


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 303

This cross and similar examples are made of two crosses hinged at the bottom, which allowed access to a hollow space meant to hold a relic. The large numbers of surviving copper-alloy reliquary crosses suggest that they were not used solely for relics of the True Cross or other primary relics, such as the bone of a saint; instead they likely contained secondary relics, for instance, a piece of earth from a holy site or a piece of fabric made holy through contact with the body of a saint.

Reliquary Cross with Christ and the Virgin, Copper alloy, Byzantine

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