Koftgari Gold-Inlaid Crucifix
height: 7.5cm, width: 5.5cm, weight: 14g
This crucifix has been decorated on both sides with gold koftgari work (also spelt kuftgari and kuftkari), a technique of northern India. It is a form of damascening whereby sheet steel is engraved with the desired design and then silver or, as in this case, gold wire is hammered into the engraved grooves.
The form of this crucifix with each of its various ends terminating in three lobes is known as an ‘oriental crucifix’.
Both sides have been decorated with coriander leaf patterns along with arabesque scrolls.
A small, open loop is attached to the top of the crucifix.
It is unusual to have a Christian cross decorated with a technique normally seen on north Indian Muslim items such as pen boxes and dagger blades. Another example is illustrated in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and illustrated in Barnard (2008, p. 81). The V&A cross appears to have been exhibited in the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867 and was transferred to the V&A from the India Museum in 1879.
Barnard, N., Indian Jewellery, V&A Publishing, 2008.
Metal Techniques for Craftsmen: A Basic Manual on the Methods of Forming and Decorating Metals, Robert Hale & Co., 1969.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 1717
Silver Filigree Crucifix
Goa or South India
Gold Theva Work Silver Crucifix Overlaid with Gold
Partabargh, Rajasthan, India
Kandy, Sri Lanka
The following crucifixes have been sold by us in the past but are reproduced here to show the variety of ‘native’ techniques used during colonial times to produce Christian crucifixes in India and Sri Lanka.