The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

Processional cross

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A processional cross with window-ling motifs, taken by the British Museum’s expert on the expedition, Richard Rivington Holmes

Where: The British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

Provenance: Maqdala referenced at length in the museum’s acquisition notes.

The catalogue entry reads:

“Processional cross made of brass in two parts; cross and hollow, cast shaft with lower arms. The gently tapered shaft has a deep vertical slot at the top into which the body of the cross sits and is secured in place with two iron nails. The lower arms extend horizontally out from the shaft and extend towards the body of the cross at an angle of 45 degrees where they attach to the shaft just below the body of the cross. The left lower arm has broken away from the shaft at the top.

“The body of the cross has a central patée cross with flared arms set within a quatrefoil. Separating the cross from the quatrefoil are four motifs resembling crossed double lancet windows. Around the edge of the Quatrefoil are seven patée crosses with arms which flare out and join to form a square with ovoid cut outs known as dove’s eyes. Between the patée crosses are six crosses formed by four rings. The outline of the quatrefoil and the centres of the crosses are engraved with linear designs.”

Museum number: Af1868,1001.18
Previous owner/ex-collection: Sir Richard Rivington Holmes
Acquisition date: 1868

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