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Processional cross

Processional cross

Culture Group: Spanish
Culture: Spanish
Date: 16th century
Medium: Wrought iron with remains of gilt
Dimensions:
total: 36 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches (92.7 x 52.1 cm)
(A) cross: 25 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches (64.8 x 52.1 cm)
(B) base: 15 1/2 x 6 1/4 inches (39.4 x 15.9 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:Across without the body of Christ is the oldest way of representing the Crucifixion by suggestion. This iron cross dates from the early to mid-1500s and is believed to have come from central Spain. The curved stylistic elements are inspired by Moorish decoration, reminding us of the strong and lasting influence of Islamic art and culture on Spain, which was controlled by the Moors from 711 to 1492 CE. This cross would have been carried ahead of the priest in outdoor processions during funerals or feast days, a practice that is still popular in all parts of Spain, especially around Easter. The cross’s three tips have metal finials that move and would have made noise during a procession, adding an audible element to the religious experience. A skull in the center symbolizes Christ’s death and the fleeting nature of all life. The skull is also a reference to the site of Christ’s crucifixion, Golgotha, known as the “place of the skull.”
Provenance: Purchased 2002 through (Luis Elvira Anticuario) by Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 2002.6.1