Foot of Cross

Lower Saxony
second half of 12th century

Object Place: Europe, Lower Saxony


7 x 8.2 x 7.7 cm (2 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gilded latten (87.4% copper, 6.2% zinc, 2.9% tin, 3.5% lead)

Not On View





Four-sided pyramidal base with a central round socket and claw feet, one of which is integral (the other three attached with rivets). Cast, chased and gilded. The openwork decoration comprises wide flat tendrils marked by three parallel lines forming a heart-shaped design in each corner. Two small curled leaves issue from the tendrils to flank the feet; at the top of the heart, tendrils on each side split to form a trefoil design on either side within the heart and to rise on the diagonal until just below the socket, where they are held together by a beaded band and where they split again to turn downward, terminating in bifurcated curled ends. The bifurcated ends from either side abut one another to form a palmette-like design in the center of each side. Between the lower heart designs and the upper palmettes is a square crenellated wall “supported” by frontal figures with raised arms dressed in short belted tunics and pointed boots. These Atlas figures stand between the heart designs on a band connecting them. Busts of the Evangelists’ symbols (angel, lion, ox and eagle) with spread wings emerge from the corners of the wall; they look down at the figures (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) seated in the corners between the trefoil designs. The Evangelists wear belted dalmatics over albs and hold open books with both hands. Traces of solder appear around the socket on the underside.


1882, possibly Stoobants, Belgium [see note 1]. Count Hans Johann Nepomuk von Wilczek (b. 1837 - d. 1922), Kreuzenstein, Austria. 1933, Silberman Galleries, New York; May 8, 1933, sold by Silberman to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. N3116); June 8, 1949, Brummer sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, lot 49, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 9, 1949)

[1] See "L'Art ancien a l'exposition nationale," Reusens 1882, fig. 6, p. 7.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund