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Corpus (Front)

Corpus (Front)
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Halberstadt, Cathedral treasury

Inv. 1

Ivory;rock crystal, iron bars, silver, niello, vellum (cross)

Height: 175mm (ivory only)
Width: 138mm (crucifix)

Crucified Christ.
Four Symbols of the Evangelists with scrolls bearing their names painted at the end of each arm: angel of saint Matthew (angel swinging a censer); eagle of saint John; lion of saint Mark; calf of saint Luke.
Painted inscriptions: IOHA(NNE)S; LVCAS; MARC(V)S; titulus: I(ESVS) N(AZARENVS) R/(E)X IV/DE(ORV)M (above the intersection of the cross).
Silver fittings with niello decorated with animals and hybrids.

Flemming, Lehmann, Schubert 1990: Venice, 2nd half of the 13th century.
Richter 2009: Northern Italy, early 14th century.
Museum's opinion 2012: Italy, 13th century (cross) and early 14th century (corpus).


Polychromy - Gilding
Extensive gold and polychromy: gold (along the hems; hair; beard), red (blood, lips), green (crown of thorns).

The upper part of Christ's back is carved in low relief, while the back of the lower part and of the loincloth are left uncarved.

Object Condition
Small losses in the polychromy. Later iron fitting wrapped around the foot of the cross.
The corpus is made of three different pieces of ivory. The rock crystal cross is made of eleven segments which are hollowed out and fixed on iron bars. The gaps between the segments are hidden behind silver junctions decorated with hybrids and animals in niello. These iron bars are wrapped in painted parchment that shines through the rock crystal. The arms of the cross end in a fleur-de-lys shape.

The mounting and size of the cross indicate it was used as a processional cross. Conservators date the corpus to the 14th century and the cross to the 13th century.

The corpus is first mentioned in a 1717 inventory of the Cathedral Treasury (and thereafter in 1739, 1837, 1857, etc).

H. Wentzel, Bergkristall [article], in Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, ed. by O. Schmitt (Stuttgart, 1948), II, pp. 275-298.
H. Hahnloser, 'Das Venezianer Kristallkreuz im Bernischen Historischen Museum', in Jahrbuch des Bernischen Historischen Museums in Bern (Bern, 1954), pp. 35-47.
H. Hahnloser, 'Scola e artes cristellariorum de Veneciis', in Venezia e l'Europa, Atti del XVIII Congresso Internazionale di Storia dell' Arte, Venice, 12-18 September 1955 (Venice, 1956), pp. 157-165.
H. Hahnloser, S. Brugger-Koch, Corpus der Hartsteinschliffe des 12.-15. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1985), p. 111.
J. Flemming, E. Lehmann, E. Schubert, Dom und Domschatz zu Halberstadt (Leipzig, 1990), pp. 244-245, fig. 159.
Der heilige Schatz im Dom zu Halberstadt, ed. by H. Meller, I. Mundt, B. E. Schmuhl (Regensburg, 2008), pp. 142-143, no. 40.
J. Richter, Der Domschatz zu Halberstadt. Führer durch die Ausstellung (Dößel, 2009), pp. 180-181.


© Juraj Lipták, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt.

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