More than 60 glass gems decorate this double-sided cross, which enshrines sacred relics from the Holy Land.
Pieces of wood, believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified, are framed in the rectangle at the top.
Inscriptions on the sides of the arms and shaft identify the precious fragments still visible behind pieces of rock crystal: relics of several early saints, from the site of Jesus' birth, His Crucifixion, His tomb and the tomb of Maria.
Testament to the important tradition of goldsmith's work in central France, as well as to the region's strong spiritual, cultural and political links to the Holy Land, this reliquary cross is the only example of twelfth-century French silver in the Museum, and the only cross of this type and date outside France.
This object is currently on view in the Museum's main building at 1000 Fifth Avenue.
Purchase, Michel David-Weill Gift, The Cloisters Collection, and Mme. Robert Gras Gift, in memory of Dr. Robert Gras, 2002.
Probably from the Abbey of Grandmont; Exhibited at the Louvre in 1909; Drouot sale, 19-20 December 1919, no. 202.; sold Paris, 29 Nov.-1 Dec. 1927, no. 16); illustrated in pre World War II photo of gallery stock.; per Brimo de Laroussilhe stock books.; Drouot sale, 20 June 1961, no. 13; 3 avril 1963.