Such a cross, also known as an enkolpion, could have been worn as a pectoral cross, which, during the Middle Ages, was an attribute of bishops. Throughout the centuries a great number of crosses were made to hold a secondary relic in them containing pieces of saints’ clothing, pieces of the True Cross, hair fragments, and so on. Crosses offered protection to the wearer and would have been available all over the Byzantine Empire.
Byzantine Bronze Cross with Mary Theotokos and Corpus Christi
A delicately modelled Byzantine enkolpion cast bronze reliquary cross, featuring a hinged base and a suspension loop for wear. The front is decorated with a stylised image Corpus Christi, while the back displays the representation of the Virgin Mary Theotokos, portrayed in the Orans position in prayer, and flanked by the busts of two figures, possibly saints, apostles or worshippers.
Condition: Fine, signs of aging to the surface. Sediments and ageing prevent the cross to fully open.