The front of an enamelled altar-cross with five Old Testament scenes: Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh(centre); Moses and Aaron and the brazen Serpent(top); Elijah and the Widow of Sarepta(left); the marking of the Tau during passover(right); return of the Spies with the grapes(bottom); Latin inscriptions. Stratford 1993 The cross is made up of four hammered rectangular copper plaques: the top plaque is decorated with two scenes, including the central scene; the two arms and the bottom plaque have one scene each and abut against the central scene. Backs: A recent mounting-mark is scratched on each plaque: (anti-clockwise, beginning on the right arm) I/II/III/IIII. Fronts: Champlevé and engraved, with some minor details executed with cloisonné copper cell-work; enamelled, gilded and set with gem-stones. The edges of the plaques, except where they meet in the centre, are recessed and beaded, with regular pinholes for attachment to a wooden core; the beading was executed with a tool with a hollow tip of approx. 1 mm width. The unbeaded edges where the four plaques abut in the centre are original, except on the top plaque: the right and left sides of the central square were originally beaded and have been cut down, as is proved by their incomplete pinholes; the lower edge is also trimmed but here there is no evidence that originally there was beading, although the corresponding plaque on the reverse of the cross, now in Berlin, has a continuous beaded border around the whole central scene. The decoration of the cross is organised with the five Old Testament scenes in the centre and on the terminals, separated by ornamental panels, a single one on each of the upper arms, three on the lower. The five Old Testament scenes all have a narrow enamelled frame, 3 mm in width, of pale blue within white, which is broken by elements of each scene: (Centre) Jacob blessing Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis XLVIII, 14). Jacob (• IACOB •), nimbed and bearded, is seated frontally on a draped couch between two curtains, wearing a long robe and shoes; the curtain on the left is smaller and beneath it is an extension of Jacob's couch, perhaps a cushion. Jacob's arms are crossed, his right hand placed on the head of the boy at his left knee, his left on the boy's head at his right knee; the two boys, both dressed in tunic, hose and boots are bowing towards Jacob with extended hands. The inscriptions above their heads (EFFRA/IM. /MANASSE) are wrongly placed and contradict the Genesis narrative, since it is not Ephraim, the younger, who is blessed by Jacob's right hand. (Top terminal). Moses and Aaron with the Brazen Serpent (Numbers XXI, 9). The serpent is dog-headed and has a spotted body; it is coiled on top of a central column, with square plinth, bulbous base, stylised volute capital and a shaft decorated with trefoil motifs, executed in cloisonné cell-work. Moses stands to the right, nimbed and bearded, with bare feet, wearing a long tunic and mantle, his hands spread before him as he gazes at the serpent. He is identified by a vertical inscription alongside the column: MOYSES. Aaron, nimbed, bearded, wearing a pointed cap and shoes, mantle and tunic, stands on the left, with hands spread as he too gazes at the serpent. He is identified by a vertical inscription: AARON. Behind Aaron stands an Israelite in tunic, hose and shoes, with a raised hand; the hair of a second Israelite is visible behind him, thus suggesting a group of Israelites 'in shorthand'. (Left terminal). Elijah and the widow of Sarepta (1 Kings XVII, 8-16, cf. Luke IV, 26). On the left stands the widow (VIDVA.), facing to the right and holding before her two stic
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