Larger Engraved Silver Pectoral Cross (Yalebb Masqal)
19th-early 20th century
length: 12.8cm, width: 9.5cm, weight: 36g
Much of the Ethiopian silverwork on the market is new. But this pectoral cross has clear wear and age. It is almost identical to one illustrated in Biasio (2004, p. 222) that is in the Volkerkundemuseum of the University of Zurich.
The cross, meant to be worn on the chest, is of engraved and pieced silver sheet. The central component comprises in interlaced, engraved and pierced pattee cross with crown-like finials on each of the three lower arms.
The four birds shown between the arms of the cross possibly serve as symbols for the Holy Ghost.
The upper part of the cross is fixed with a hinge, that is joined to a smaller cross that is surmounted by a welded ring or eyelet through which a cord would have been threaded.
Biasio, E., Majesty and Magnificence at the Court of Menelik: Alfred Ilg’s Ethiopia around 1900, Verlag Nueue Zurcher Zeitung, 2004.Provenance:
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3261