Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Grenoble Archaeological Museum | Iron Cross

Many of the posts in this series concentrate on artefacts and features I know well and have seen on several visits to these musea. This large iron cross, however, is a recent addition to the exhibition (or, I’ve utterly failed to notice it before). It was constructed from wrought iron in the 15th century and decorated the summit of Saint-Laurent’s bell tower. It consists of a vertical shaft that was split into two to form the horizontal beam. The ends of the horizontal beam and the top of the cross shaft are each decorated with arrangements of three leaves. The leaves have turned-up edges and enclose lily flowers. The use of threes symbolises the Christian trinity, while the lily is commonly used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary, the annunciation, or the resurrection. The museum’s information card adds that the leaves and lilies may have been added in 1646, when the tower was rebuilt. The dolphin-shaped wind wane appears to be an original feature of the artefact. The cross remained in position until the 1980s, when it was replaced with a replica and the original conserved.