Twelfth-century churchmen and the nobility in central France prided themselves on their devotion to the scared sites of the Holy Land. Relics from that region, alternating with more than sixty "gems" of colored glass, are set like jewels on this cross. Identified by inscriptions along the sides, they include a fragment of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus died, relics of his tomb, and relics of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Innocents, and early deacons of the Church.
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Detail - inscription
Detail - inscriptions
Detail - inscription
Detail - inscriptions
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Geography:Made in Limoges, France
Medium:Silver gilt, rock crystal, glass cabochons, and possible human remains; wood core
Dimensions:w/ tang: 11 3/4 in. × 4 15/16 in. × 1 in. (29.8 × 12.5 × 2.5 cm) w/o tang: 10 in. × 4 15/16 in. × 1 in. (25.4 × 12.5 × 2.5 cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, Michel David-Weill Gift, The Cloisters Collection, and Mme. Robert Gras Gift, in memory of Dr. Robert Gras, 2002
Inscription: (on proper right side of the shaft): De sepulcro d[omin]i : De sepulcro be[atae] Mari[a]e (From the sepulcher of the Lord : From the sepulcher of blessed Mary)
(on proper left side of the shaft): S[ancti] hermetis mi : capilli sci steph[an]i . M[artyr] . (Saint Hermes, martyr : hair of Stephen, Martyr)
(over the proper right arm): De innocentib[us] (From the innocents)
(over the proper left arm): S[ancti] appollinaris [obscured by a strip of metal engraved: S[ancti] vinsenci] (of Saint Appolinaris, [obscured by a strip of metal engraved: of Saint Vincent])
(under the proper right arm): De nativitate d[omi]ni (From the birthplace of the Lord)
(under the proper left arm]: De calvarie. (From Calvary)
Probably from the Abbey of Grandmont, France; Félix Doistau 1846–1936, Paris ; [private collection sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (December 19-20, 1919, no. 202)] ; Professor Augustin Gilbert, Paris (sold 1927) ; [his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (November 29-December 1, 1927, no. 16)] ; [ Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris (from 1927)] ; Withney collection ; [Collection de Monsieur X sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris (June 20, 1961, no. 13) ; [sale, Le Mans (April 3, 1963)] ; [ Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris (sold 2002)]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary," October 1, 2007–March 2, 2008.
Cleveland. Cleveland Museum of Art. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," October 17, 2010–January 17, 2011.
Baltimore. Walters Art Museum. "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe," February 13, 2011–May 15, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven," September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017.
de Goy, Pierre. "Au Musée de Bourges." Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires du Centre, 1907-1908 31 (1909). p. 193–94.
Brimo de Laroussilhe. Sculptures et objets d'art précieux du XIIe au XVIe siècle. Paris: Brimo de Laroussilhe, 1993. no. 3, pp. 30–35.
Gaborit-Chopin, Danielle. "La Croix de la Roche-Foulques." Bulletin de la Société nationale des antiquaires de France, 1992 (1994). p. 421, n. 22.
Apollo. "A Selection of 2002 Museum Acquisitions." Apollo: The International Magazine for Collectors 156 (December 2002).
Dandridge, Pete. "Reconsidering a Romanesque Reliquary Cross." Met Objectives: Treatment and Research Notes 4, no. 1 (Fall 2002). pp. 5–7, fig. 8–11.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2001-2002." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 60, no. 2 (Fall 2002). p. 12.
Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. no. 26, pp. 57, 194.
Moore, Susan. "Objects of Devotion." Art + Auction 27, no. 7 (March 2005). ill. p. 108.
Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Une Croix Reliquaire au Musée du Berry." Revue des Musées de France: Revue du Louvre 56, no. 4 (2006). pp. 28–37.
Barnet, Peter. "Recent Acquisitions (1999-2008) of Medieval Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cloisters, New York: Supplement." The Burlington Magazine 150, no. 1268 (November 2008). p. 795, fig. VII.
Bagnoli, Martina, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann, and James Robinson, ed. Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe. Cleveland, Baltimore, and London: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2010. no. 48, pp. 89–90.
Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 55.
Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Melanie Holcomb, ed. Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 25d, pp. 57–61, 105, 251, 286.
Bolton, Andrew, ed. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Vol. 2. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018. pp. 108, 124.
Luyster, Amanda, ed. Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece. Turnhout, BEL: Harvey Miller Publishing, 2023. fig. 66, pp. 164–165.
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