N° 36
Nestorian Cross

Xinjiang, Khotan
10th - 14th century
H: 7 cm, W: 6 cm.
Inv. MG 26601, Dutreuil de Rheims and Grenard Mission, 1898
Paris, National Museum of Asian Arts - Guimet

This bronze cross, the left extremity of which is missing, is ornamented on the reverse side with a tenon in which a hole has been pierced, thereby enabling it to be attached to another object.

According to M. Deverias, it bears a Chinese inscription, while according to Louis Hambis, the interpretation may be found in the explanation of Christian symbols of the Mediterranean East or of Eastern Iran.

The crucifixion is not shown; it would have been replaced by the words 'altar of the cross.' This is corroborated by Guillaume de Rubrouk, who reminds us that the Nestorians "found it improper to represent Jesus crucified."

Laure Feugère