This amazing ceremonial Ethiopian Coptic cross is lovingly made of steel. There are faint decorations incised into the metal, although this particular piece has the fewest incisions of any of the group of crosses we acquired. This particular cross the largest and thickest of the group. Most likely, these crosses were "hand crosses," carried by congregation priests to bless the faithful. Indeed, the cross fits wonderfully into your hand when you pick it up.
Note that there are two white marks on one side; probably associated with a repair of a bit of the cross that started to deteriorate. One of the embellishments on the very top of the cross has also started to wear away slightly. We don't think these detract from the piece at all -- but we always try to describe items fully.
It's extremely hard to reliably date something like this, but crosses of this type appear to be several hundreds of years old. This is a particularly lovely example. Not a lot of ornamentation, but lots of gravitas. This example measures just 10 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide at the widest point.
After several decades of collecting, you just "know" when you've come across something truly special. I got that feeling when I came across a cache of these beautiful crosses. Our source was indeed reluctant to part with them, saying that they are impossible to find any more, but after a long negotiation, I bought everything he had. Hopefully you will find these as beautiful as we did!
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