A cross of this sort, also known as an ‘enkolpion’, could be worn as a pectoral cross, and was an attribute of bishops during the Middle Ages. Over the course of the centuries, many of these crosses were produced in such a way as to hold a secondary relic. They might contain, for example, part of a saint’s clothing, pieces of the True Cross, or hair fragments. The cross was the most popular Christian symbol in Byzantium: it offered protection to the wearer and would have been available all over the Empire.
Byzantine Enkolpion Cross with the Image of Saint George
A beautiful Byzantine enkolpion cross made of bronze, and featuring a hinged base and suspension loop for wear. The front is decorated with the incised image of Saint George, with his arms lifted up in the Orans position and with a halo around his head. Above the image of the Saint we can read the Greek inscription ΓΕΟΡΓΙΟC, attesting the identity of the Saint. The four arms of the cross are decorated with a thin geometric frame. The rear of the cross displays an incised roundel with a small portrait of Jesus Christ, as well as another thin geometric frame to the arms of the cross.
Condition: Very fine, all details are clearly visible and the metal is in very good condition.