Bethlehem Mother of Pearl Crucifix, An Unusual Large Finley Engraved Tinged or Inlaid With Black, Red & Green Lac or Paste Wall Hanging Crucifix, Bethlehem, The Ottoman Empire-Old Palestine, Dated 1840 AD.

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Bethlehem Mother of Pearl Crucifix, An Unusual Large Finley Engraved Tinged or Inlaid With Black, Red & Green Lac or Paste Wall Hanging Crucifix, Bethlehem, The Ottoman Empire-Old Palestine, Dated 1840 AD.

This rather very unusual large wall hanging crucifix is quite different from the other traditional crucifixes that were made during the same period in Bethlehem.

The Artist had used different and an innovative techniques in the decoration of this crucifix, at first the artist had placed and glued the finely cut and previously decorated pieces of mother of pearl on the main wooden structure of the crucifix and then he had veneered the empty areas surrounding the cut pieces of mother of pearl with typical geometrical rectangular and triangular shaped cut wooden pieces which he had intentionally and beautifully placed in parallel and opposite to each other surrounding the overall mother of pearl crucifix.

The wooden rectangular and triangular shaped cut pieces are similar to those cut pieces of mother of pearl that usually been used to decorate the furniture.

The upper part of the crucifix had been beautifully decorated with detailed and rather larger than usual depiction of an image of the corps of Jesus been crucified on the wooden cross, with a separate crown on top of Jesus head.

Also the talented artist who had made this very high quality crucifix had used three beautifully chiselled steel nails which had been placed on the wounds of Jesus in both hands and feet, also the artist had decorated the holy communion chalice and the eastern style of the crown of thorns on Jesus head.

The finely engraved and tinged with black lac rectangular shaped piece of mother of pearl or label which had been veneered at the lower part of the unusual wooden crucifix had been beautifully and carefully engraved and inscribed in Italian language.

The following is the script found on the crucifix:-

BENED. A NEL SS. SEPOLCRO E POSTA NEL BUCO DOVE Fu PIANTATO LA CROCE E DI SS. S. G. C. (Suo Signore Santo Gesù Cristo) 1840.

Translating to:-

This Crucifix had been blessed in the Holy Sepulchre (in Jerusalem) and Placed in the Same Hole where Christ’s Cross was Set (The Holy Lord Jesus Christ) 1840 AD.


References:-

For similar materials used in making our current wall hanging crucifix please see:

150 Croci in Madreperla Dal ‘600 Ad Oggi, (translating to 150 crosses in mother of pearl from 600 to today), by Tiziano Cossignani, Museo Malacologico Cupra Marittima, L informatore Piceno 2015, ISBN: 978-88-86070-33-1, Italy.

Please see the wooden case that was made to protect the crucifix belongs to the convent of san Francesco of Assisi, Illustrated on page 29.

Condition: Very Good, hairline to Jesus face, Minor restoration and old replacements and conservation.

Dimensions:

The overall height ( Excluding the iron hanging disc) is 79 cm.
The width of the cross wings is 38 cm.
The width at the largest points of wooden body is 8 cm.
The depth of the wooden body is 2.6 cm.
  • Identification Number: 494


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