Exhibitions/ Art Object

Altar Cross

third quarter 12th century
German (Hildesheim)
Copper alloy, cast and engraved, with modern gilding and rock crystal
Overall: 11 7/16 x 5 in. (29 x 12.7 cm); H. Corpus: 4 3/16 in. (10.6 cm)
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
Dom-Museum Hildesheim (DS 12)
Not on view
This cross and its base are characteristic of twelfth-century Hildesheim workshops in their form and ornamentation, though the cylindrical piece that connects them, and perhaps the entire arrangement, is much later in date. The base stands on three lion’s paws entwined with tendrils and dragons. The crucifix, held in the mouth of a lion, depicts a weightless, open-eyed Christ. A fifteenth-century inscription on the back mentions relics that were probably kept in a hollow in the figure.
St. Michael's Monastery, Hildesheim (ca. 1160); Cathedral Treasury, Hildesheim (19th century); Dom-Museum Hildesheim Documentation: Victor Heinrich Elbern, Der Hildesheimer Domschatz (Hildesheim: Lax, 1969), no. 92 [published with wrong inv. no.]; Michael Brandt and Arne Eggebrech, eds., Bernward von Hildesheim und das Zeitalter der Ottonen: Katalog der Austellung, Hildesheim 1993 (Hildesheim: Bernward Verlag/Mainz: Ph. v. Zabern, 1993), vol. 2, pp. 613.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim," September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014.