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African Art
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery

Christian Processional Cross

possibly 15th century

Copper alloy

19 1/2 × 14 × 2 in. (49.5 × 35.56 × 5.08 cm)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund
2010.223.1

This fifteenth-century cross is interesting for its arabesques, which include a central cross with the kabbalistic design of a continuous four-part loop, called a hatumere in Arabic and known all across the Saharan region as a protective image. Processional crosses like this one are shown being carried by figures in fifteenth-century illuminated manuscripts, but existing processional crosses with this design are rare; the design is more common for silver pectoral crosses.

Geography: 
Gondar, Ethiopia
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Period: 
18th–19th century
Classification: 
Sculpture
Provenance: 

Dr. and Mrs. John Summerskill, Addis Ababa (at the time of collection, the couple left Ethiopia in 1970), c. 1968-2007; William Wright (son of Mrs. John Summerskill), Belle Mead, New Jersey, 2007-2010; sold to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2010

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2011.pdf (accessed March 1, 2012).

Frederick John Lamp, “Designs against Evil: An Ethiopian Orthodox Processional Cross,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2012): 112–113, fig. 1A–B.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.