A Chinese export mother-of-pearl inlaid wood apostle cross

Untitled Catalog193294.jpg
Untitled Catalog193294.jpg

A Chinese export mother-of-pearl inlaid wood apostle cross

0.00

A very large scale Chinese export mother-of-pearl inlaid wood apostle cross. The cross-section inlaid with incised mother-of-pearl to depict fruiting vines, flowers and foliage. the top and side terminals are tri-lobed and inlaid with stylised flowers within a border of scrolls framing a flaming cross issuing from a pomegranate at its centre, the base having a vase with flowers surrounded by carved and inlaid scrolling leaves. The reverse undecorated.

Vietnam or Southern China, 18th - 19th century

Height  29 inches, Width 15 inches.

  After the arrival of the Portuguese in the sixteenth century Macau became a diocese of the Catholic Church. The Diocese of Macau was given a wide jurisdiction over various ecclesiastical territories in the Far East, such as China, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. It became a major training and departure point for Catholic missionaries to different countries in Asia. The acanthus leaves at the bottom of the present cross are similar to those which also appear on 18th century Chinese enamelled wares. The long elaborate tendrils on the flowers are also similar to those seen on grape and bottle gourd motifs on the Chinese decorative arts. The three upper terminals of the cross are formed in the shape of ruyi-heads – symbolic in China for ‘everything as you wish’. They also correspond to a design known as the cross botonée, used in Western heraldry as well as religious art – where the three lobes are said to represent the Trinity.

Add To Cart