AUD $130.00
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Ethiopian, Lalibela Cross

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A very sturdy, roughly cut and engraved iron “Lalibela Cross” from Ethiopia.

Different cities in Ethiopia with significant Coptic Christian churches have recognizably different crosses.
Lalibela with it’s fabulous Churches, has these birds, filling in the arms of the cross, creating a dynamic and elegant form.
(These characteristic cut out birds are almost Scandinavian or Mexican in their stylized simplicity.)
The centre panel of checks is unusual, more often it would represent basketry or strapwork.

All to often customers mistake Ethiopian crosses for Celtic ones,
they and some Tibetan works all share a woven/strapwork feel.
Perhaps basketry and leather strapwork have led to these designs,
or the techniques involved have been the cause.
Most Ethiopian designs are achieved by chiselling the details in,
then drilling out the holes, inserting a fine saw and cutting, then filing to finish.
Understanding this, the results seem almost obvious.

Made in two pieces hinged at the top for suspension.

The coarsely sawn silhouette and minimalist engraving differ from the usual chiselled more organic forms we usually see.
This is most likely due to the hardness of the alloy used.

In excellent condition with a only minor scratches, which on such a hard metal must have taken some time to accrue, adding to the exciting surface patina.

It’s this crisp lack of finish that’s definitely for those who like it rough.

Age: Mid/Late 20th Century

Size: H 95 mm x W 72 mm

Weight: 35 grams