Painted Coptic Cross Icon Pendant Ethiopia
Painted on metal, these icons were used originally as Bibles by itinerant priests spreading Christianity. For explanations of many of the frequently recurring theological motifs, see Mercier's "ETHIOPIAN MAGIC SCROLLS." Also see "AFRICAN ZION: THE SACRED ART OF ETHIOPIA" by Yale University Press, New Haven, and London.The cross is one of the most recognizable symbols across the world. As a central religious motif, the cross was made as a single piece or was associated with other visual arts. Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest continuous Christian traditions in the world, and Ethiopian silversmiths produce religious jewelry as an expression of that tradition. Star of David pendants are worn around the neck and emphasize the relationship of Christian Ethiopians to Israel, King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
Ethiopian crosses can also be made out of wood. Designs are as varied as the regions and crosses are generally named after towns or provinces where they are made. The use of these crosses is essentially religious. Small crosses are worn by men and women as pectoral or neck pendants. For more than 1600 years, Ethiopians have worn neck crosses. Most often, they are given at baptism and are worn as badges or symbols of their faith. Large crosses such as this were used in church processions by priests during religious ceremonies. They were also held by pilgrims during processions.
The Ethiopian Coptic Cross is a distinctive form of Christian cross that is commonly found in Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian traditions. It is often worn as a pendant and holds significant cultural and religious symbolism.
The Ethiopian Coptic Cross is characterized by its unique design, which typically features a loop at the top and arms that extend outward, resembling a crucifix. The loop represents eternal life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The arms of the cross are usually decorated with intricate patterns, geometric designs, or biblical motifs, such as the depiction of angels, the sun, the moon, or the Lion of Judah.
These crosses are typically handcrafted by skilled artisans and are made from various materials, including silver, gold, brass, or a combination of metals. The level of craftsmanship and detail can vary, with some crosses being relatively simple and others being highly ornate and elaborate.
The Ethiopian Coptic Cross holds deep religious significance for Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians. It serves as a symbol of faith, protection, and divine grace. It is not only worn as a piece of jewelry but is also displayed in churches, homes, and during religious ceremonies. Each cross is individual. The designs vary from one cross to another. No two are identical.