3045
3045
A LIMESTONE BOUNDARY CROSS FRAGMENT
CATALONIA OR EASTERN CASTILE, SPAIN, EARLY 15TH CENTURY
Estimate
140,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3045
A LIMESTONE BOUNDARY CROSS FRAGMENT
CATALONIA OR EASTERN CASTILE, SPAIN, EARLY 15TH CENTURY
Estimate
140,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Curiosity V

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Hong Kong

A LIMESTONE BOUNDARY CROSS FRAGMENT
CATALONIA OR EASTERN CASTILE, SPAIN, EARLY 15TH CENTURY
the large fragment consisting of the lateral arm of a large stone cross, carved on the front with the figure of Christ Crucified, his head gently bowing to his right, his left arm, instead of being nailed to the centre of the cross arm, slightly raised to join the uppermost leafy branch of the foliage covering the arms of the cross, all surrounded by groups of leaves sprouting from forking branches symbolising the verdant cross, the reverse adorned with the Virgin and Child under the shelter of Mary’s voluminous mantle
43 by 98 by 29 cm, 16 7/8  by 38 5/8  by 11 3/8  in.
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Provenance

Diocese of Tortosa or Castelló, by repute.
Acquired in Castelló de la Plana, Valencia. 

Catalogue Note

This magnificent fragment comes from one of the most sophisticated and skilfully carved boundary crosses made in the eastern regions of Spain to have come down to us from the later Middle Ages. Such commissions were by nature public monuments, with a fairly vernacular form and provincial level of sophistication, often employed to mark church lands and the boundaries between territories. They would be mounted on polygonal bases, often carved with figures of local saints or the patron who paid for the commission. A more intact, but simultaneously more lumpen, example survives in the Museu Episcopal at Vic, which originally stood in El Pla dels Caputxins in the same city. Another can be found in the Manresa County Museum, also of Catalan origin. However, the finesse of the pierced quatrefoil designs filling the spaces at which the four arms of our cross meet, and the elaborateness of the sinewy foliate decoration on the lateral arm, are of a bold and ambitious conception unparalleled amongst these or the large majority of surviving medieval boundary crosses. A closer comparison can be drawn to architectural sculpture at the Monasterio de Santes Creus in Catalonia, carved around 1400 and incorporating similarly elaborate leafy motifs amongst figurative carving. Also of comparison in this respect is the highly comparable wriggling leaf decoration used extensively on a pair of stone doorways from the high altar of Vic cathedral (for which see Museu Episcopal de Vic; Guide to the collections, Vic, 2007, pp. 198-199). Carved as part of the enlargement and beautification of the cathedral between 1420 and 1427, they show how such ornament was employed particularly in the region around Vic during the first third of the fifteenth century. However, a later boundary cross with a figure of Christ carved in a similar style, and with more angular but somewhat comparable foliate ornament, is also preserved in the Albacete Provincial Museum, and was likely carved in the eastern part of medieval Castile, a region now known as Castilla-La Mancha. The manner in which the figure’s hair flows in subtle, parallel lines over His shoulders, is particularly close in treatment to our cross. The comparisons that can be drawn both to eastern Castilian and Catalonian commissions alike indicates that we cannot reconstruct the cross’s precise origins, but its 20th-century provenance history would suggest the former of the two adjoining regions.

Curiosity V

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Hong Kong