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Upper Arm of a Cross with the Annunciation

late 10th century - first half of the 11th century
10.9 cm x 6.3 cm (4 5/16 in. x 2 1/2 in.)
silver, gilding and niello

Not on view


Additional Images
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Additional Image Detail of lower inscription
Detail of lower inscription
Additional Image Detail of upper inscription
Detail of upper inscription
Additional Image Reverse

The fragment is from the upper arm of a processional cross; it is of sheet silver, worked in repoussé, with the edges bend back for nailing to a wooden core. At the top is a relief representing the Annunciation: the Virgin is seated before a doorway to the right, holding a spindle in her hand; the angel approaches from the left, his right hand raised in salutation, his left hand holding a staff. Beneath the figures is a Greek inscription which identifies the scene "the Annunciation." At the lower end of the fragment is the portion of the halo of the Virgin, now lost, judging by the niello inscription "Mother of God" above it. The bits of the surviving nimbi indicate a Virgin and Child at the center of the cross; the arrangement may have been like the standing Virgin and Child on the reverse of the Paris cross.
[J. A. Cotsonis, Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses (Washington, DC, 1994), fig. 14b].

Musée des arts décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Pavillon de Marsan, Exposition internationale d'art byzantin, 28 mai - 9 juillet 1931 (Paris, 1931), no. 439.

M. Ross, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Mediaeval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, Vol. I, Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Glyptics, Painting (Washington, DC, 1962), no. 23, pl. XXII.

Handbook of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, Harvard University (Washington, DC, 1967), no. 80.

J. A. Cotsonis, Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses (Washington, DC, 1994), 79, no. 4.

Exhibition History
Paris, Musée des Arts Decoratifs, "Exposition d'art byzantin," May 28 - July 9, 1931.

Cambridge, Fogg Museum, "A Selection of Ivories, Bronzes, Metalwork and Other Objects from the Dumbarton Oaks Collection," Nov. 15 - Dec. 31, 1945.

Cambridge, Fogg Museum of Art, August, 1972 - December, 1976.

Dumbarton Oaks, "Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses," Sept. 23, 1994 - Jan. 29, 1995.

Dumbarton Oaks, "The Collector's Microbe: Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss and the Dumbarton Oaks Collections," Apr. 9 - Nov. 9, 2008

Acquisition History
Said to have been found in Syria.

Collection of Henry Daguerre, Paris.

Purchased from Joseph Brummer (Paris and New York), 1921.

Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks

Harvard University, The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, November 1940.