Hand Cross



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Ethiopia, Africa




Wood, possibly olive, acacia, or ebony


13 3/8 ✕ 6 1/411/16 in. (34.0 ✕ 15.9 ✕ 1.8 cm)

5.85 oz. (165.9 g)

Credit Line

Bequest of David P. Harris ('46), 2020

Accession Number



Purchased by David P. Harris. Date, receipt, and supplemental documents are unavailable.


A hole is drilled through the upper end of the shaft.


Brad Hostetler, and Lynn Jones, eds., Ethiopian Objects in the Blick-Harris Study Collection: Art, Context, and the Persistence of Form, Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture 8, no. 1 (Spring 2022): pp. 67–75, 108–11, cat. 11. https://digital.kenyon.edu/perejournal/vol8/iss1/1/


This lightweight, dark wooden hand cross consists of a lozenge-shaped cross, a smooth shaft topped by three horizontal lines, and a rectangular base with a cross-shaped finial at the lower end. The lozenge features a circumscribed equal-armed cross. The interstitial areas between the arms are pierced, allowing light to pass through the negative space. The contours of the lozenge are articulated with three-lobed finials that alternate with triangular projections. There are slight differences in the carved decoration of each side. On side 1, the crossing is marked by a small cross made of four triangles, and the arms are decorated with beaded lines. On side 2, the small cross at the crossing is made of four diamond shapes, and the arms are filled with interwoven lines. On both sides, the small cross at the crossing is carved with an X, possibly meant to imitate the insertions found on many metal hand and processional crosses.

The base is, on side 1, carved with small squares along the perimeter, and at the center a tilted cross inside of an inscribed square with smaller squares lining the upper and lower edges. On side 2, the base is carved with a border of jagged lines. At the center is a large, tilted cross enclosed within a border made of small squares.

Madison Gilmore-Duffey, in Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture 8, no. 1 (Spring 2022): 108. https://digital.kenyon.edu/perejournal/vol8/iss1/1/

2020.199-side2.jpg (6804 kB)
Side 2


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