- Museum number
Walrus ivory plaque in the shape of a cross with expanded terminals, carved in relief, with two attachment-holes at the end of each arm; traces of two others, and a third uncompleted drilling, are present on the right-hand arm of the cross. The back is undecorated and has a sub-rectangular cavity 1.3 cm long cut down from the upper edge. The surface is highly polished. Dark staining down the sides of the cross on the reverse may derive from contact with metal fixings. A plain frame runs round the cross except on the ends of the lateral arms. This intersects a circular mandorla at its centre which is overlapped by the upper part of Christ's body, his hands resting on it. The slender, elongated figure of Christ has a cruciferous halo, his feet rest on a trapezodial ‘suppedaneum' with an incised frame and double arcs at its lower corners. From the upper edge of the cross the hand of God in a trapezoidal sleeve with three tiers of arches descends to touch Christ's head. Possibly a book-mount.
- Production date
Length: 6.10 centimetres
Width: 3.90 centimetres (max.)
- Curator's comments
- Webster et al 1984
The cross was evidently not a pectoral cross, but attached to a larger metal covered object, such as a book-cover. The cavity at the back presumably held a relic of the True Cross.
Bibliography: Beckwith, J. 1972, ‘Ivory Carving in Early Medieval England’, London, no. 35 and refs, PL. 70; Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London Vol IV, 1859. 278, 281-282;
Dalton, O.M, (1909) 'Catalogue of the Ivory Carvings of the Christian Era...of the British Museum', London. 35-36, PLXXIX;
Longhurst, M.H, (1926) 'English Ivories', London. 8, 73-74, 133;
Talbot Rice, D, (1952) 'English Art 871-1100', Oxford. 164, fig. 36c.
- On display (G41/dc3/sB)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found near the priory in 1851. Borlase collection; purchased by the British Museum in 1887.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number