Knop from Altar Cross

German (Rhineland) or English
about 1200

Object Place: Europe, Rhineland/Meuse/North Germany, Germany


4.3 x 4.8 cm (1 11/16 x 1 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gilded latten (85.3% copper, 8.5% zinc, 5.4% tin, .8% lead)

Not On View





Openwork vegetal and animal ornament forming a four-sided object with conical projections at the top and bottom, the upper projection having a rectangular opening to receive the flange extending from an altar cross and the lower projection pierced with three holes for attachment to a base (for similar examples see Springer 1981, nos. 14, 20, 24, 28). Cast in one piece, chased, and gilded by mercury amalgam method. In each corner is a winged dragon in profile with one foot raised and the other perched on the conical base. Their long tails are concave and have a row of dots down the center that are, on alternate sides, recessed and raised. They form scrolls terminating in trefoil blossoms with a central boss and with small folded leaves emanating from the inner branches at the top, bottom and one side. The petals of the blossoms are decorated variously with rows of raised dots and chased lines. The necks of the dragons (articulated alternately by dots and raised areas of metal) curl under the outer branch of the preceding scroll, thereby making the design continuous around the knop.


Dr. Albert Figdor (b. 1843 - d. 1927), Vienna; June 11-13, 1930, posthumous Figdor sale, Cassirer, Berlin, lot 381. 1933, Galerie Brimo de Laroussilhe, Paris; July 24, 1933, sold by Brimo de Laroussilhe to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. P10021); 1947, sold by Brummer to the MFA for $3800. (Accession Date: November 13, 1947)

Credit Line

1941 Museum Fund