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 Enkolpion Cross Fragment
A fragment from a byzantine bronze enkolpion featuring a hinged base and a suspension loop for wear. The front is decorated with the incised image of a Saint, displayed in the Orans position in prayer with the halo surrounding his head. An inscription in Greek letters runs from left to right reading: DIKOP IHC. IHC is one of the most recognisable Christogram, an abbreviation of the Greek name of Jesus ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, with the Greek iota represented by I, the eta by H and the letter sigma in its lunate form, by C. Although its fragmentary condition, the piece displays a beautiful and well-define carving.
Condition: Fine, signs of aging and beautiful green patina on the surface.