"Ancient Byzantine Reliquary"
Date: Circa (400-800 CE)
Description: Ancient Byzantine Reliquary Cross Crucifix
History: A reliquary was a receptacle for keeping or displaying sacred relics. Originally, created with two halves that were hinged together leaving the center hollow for placing a religious relic. In Christian usage, relics were objects connected with, or remains of, the bodies of saints, fragments of cloth stained with the blood of a martyr, small pieces of parchment with texts from the Holy Scriptures, particles of the True Cross or even contained soil taken from "Calvary or Golgotha" (where Christ was thought to be crucified).
Christians are known to have venerated the relics of martyrs at least as early as the 2nd century. The Crusades led to the influx of relics from the Middle-East and they became popular items of adornment used for protection of crusaders and the wealthy who could afford them. These crosses were purchased by thousands of pilgrims to Jerusalem. These artifacts where very highly prized by ancient pilgrims and are still very collectable today.
This half depicts Jesus the "Christ the Redeemer" positioned with outstretched hands to sides. The symbolism indicates the crucifixion and sacrifice with the absolution of sins and the resurrection. Powerful images of Christianity at the very basis of the faith of all true believers.