Processional crosses such as this piece are present in every procession of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. The crosses are usually crafted from brass, openworked and chased with geometric ornament, this one however is made from wood, which is carved with the same openworked designs.
The cross is omnipresent in Ethiopia not only in its churches but also in everyday life. Meskel, which is Ge’ez for ‘cross’ and commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by the Roman Empress Helena, is one of the most important Ethiopian holidays. The history of the cross in Ethiopia goes back to the 4th century AD, when Oriental Orthodox Christianity became the established church under King Ezana of the Axumite Kingdom. Ethiopia was one of the first kingdoms to make coins that showed the cross. From generation to generation, more and more variations and forms of crosses have developed in Ethiopia; traditional garments are also often decorated with them. Some Ethiopians even have a cross tattooed on their forehead or chest.
Dimensions: HEIGHT 35.1 CM, WIDTH 15.3 CM
Condition: Good condition with usual signs of age and wear
Provenance: Austrian private collection