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Processional cross

 

Processional cross

Author: Unknown

Date: 14th century, end

Material: Gilt silver

Dimensions (cm): H 87 x W 44,5

Provenance: Guimarães, Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira

Inventory No.: MAS O 53

Considered a national treasure, this Latin cross, in embossed, melted and engraved silver, follows the Gothic canons.

In the intersection of the arms, in the front, there’s the depiction of Christ’s Arrest at the Olive Grove and, on the reverse, Christ in Majesty surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists. On the arms of the cross, there’s the representation of Our Lady on top and of Saint John the Evangelist on the base and, on the reverse, there’s the pelican on top and the Resurrection on the base. The horizontal arms display the coat of arms of Doctor João das Regras on both edges and on both sides.

This cross was commissioned by Doctor João das Regras, one of the priors of the Colegiada de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira, who was a well-known jurist who studied at the University of Bologna (Italy). He was High Chancellor to the Master of Avis in 1384/85, staunch defender of Dom João’s rights to the throne at the Estates General of Coimbra that legitimised the new dynasty in 1385, and afterwards member of the King’s Council.