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rosary workshop - museum - Europe - Crucifixes
ANTIQUE RUSSIAN CRUCIFIXES
old believers - processional  - icons

PROCESSIONAL 
CRUCIFIX ICON 1780s
ABOVE: This small, bronze processional Crucifix (3 1/8 by 5 1/2) is dated 1780s by MOTKA. (RUSSIAN 1780s BRONZE  SMALL CROSS. 

THE SKULL IN ART
Why the skull under the feet of Christ?  This visual symbolism tells the story of redemption clearly for those who knew how to read it. To others it can be very confusing or missed all together. This symbolism is abundantly used in Russian Orthodox art but seems to have been dropped in the last century. 
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 ..  GENESIS 3:5
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel."
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READING SYMBOLS IN ART
  The attempt of the Rosary Workshop here is to better understand why the skull was such an important symbol in art and story telling through the centuries - and eventually in rosarymaking during earlier periods of history. Remembering first of all that art was read by its symbols by a people who did not know how to read.  Imagery and tradition were very important. For the Jews, tradition was honored and memorized, to be pass from generation to generation.  It was understood that not a 'jot or tittle' was to be added [even] by the teller. 

For specific information on this tradition, and that of the New Adam, please visit links at bottom of page.

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP: 


for more information see 
PLACE OF THE SKULL   -   WHO IS THE NEW ADAM?
also see moreinformation here
OLD BELIEVERS ICON   -   TWO SKULLS
 TRIPTYCH - 1800s



 ~ PLACE of the SKULL ~

 Traditionally, Christ was crucified outside the city walls of Ancient Jerusalem on a hill or a place called the SKULL. GOLGOTHA (Aramaic / Hebrew for Skull) CALVARY: (Latin: Calvaria for "a skull") and KEFALAION (Greek) Excavtions in the 4th century changed the terraine so the Church of the Holy Sepulchre could be built over the holy sites of the crucifixion and the tomb. 
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 ..   JOHN 19:16-17
16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross himself  he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.
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This place was also well known by the Jews to be the traditioual burial place of Adam, thus the name, Golgatha. This is why we see the name in Scripture.



 ~ WHO IS THE NEW ADAM ? ~

THE NEW ADAM
+Since early times, Jesus is seen as the 'New Adam' ( And Mary as the New Eve ) overcoming the sins of Adam through his passion, death and resurrection. So the skull symbol represents Adam. Rare but seen, two skulls at the bottom of the crucifix, that of Adam and Eve. See  EXAMPLE (also see St Paul's words about the New Adam below:

 ..    1 CORINTHIANS 15:45
45 So, too, it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living being," the last Adam a life-giving spirit.

TRADITION OF ADAM
The skull carries a very old tradition that Adam was created and also buried on Calvary, GOLGATHA ('The place of the skull') and this is where Christ was crucified. His blood, the blood of salvation, the precious living blood, the blood that gave and gives life ran down the cross onto the skull of Adam below, redeeming mankind in the midst of the earthquake that opened the earth. 
  MARK 15:22
They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull).
(also see Matt 27:33, Luke 24:33, John 19:17)
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SKULLS ON ROSARIES
The symbol of the skull may also be seen in early rosaries as a bead before the crucifix, or, as it is being prayed, right after the crucifix. ( Early references to the tradition of Adam's skull: Origen 185 - 253 AD)




~ 'OLD BELIEVERS'  1800s- CRUCIFIX ~

 Russian 'Old Believers' Icon Cross with Guardian Saints. Circa 1800s. Bronze.  Heavy casting. Rare miniature size: 2.5 by 3.5". 
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BELOW ANGELS
Below the angels, left and right are two Slavonic words, which mean "King of Glory". IC XC means "Jesus Christ". The old Slavonic letters on the left and right of Christ's halo means "Jesus Christ Son of God". The old Slavonic letters that go from left to right under the main bar say: "We venerate Thy Cross O Master and we glorify thy holy resurrection". The letters K and T to the left and right of Christ stand for the spear and the sponge.
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LEFT PANEL
On the left panel of this cross St.Mary Magdalene and the Mother of God mourn the crucifixion of Christ.
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RIGHT PANEL
St.John the Evangelist and St.longinus the Centurion behold the Glory of Christ. "God the Father" on the top. In the halo of this icon we see three Greek letters which mean "He who is".
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FIRST CROSSBAR
Two angels minister to the crucified Christ. Between the angels there are old Slavonic letters which say "Angels of the Lord"
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CENTER OF CROSS
At the center of the Cross there is a beautiful image of Christ crucified. The victory of Christ over death on the cross is revealed in the peace and humility of Christ in this image. Christ appears to be embracing the whole word with eternal love that transforms the cross into a symbol of life. 
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CITY OF JERUSALEM
Traditionally, behind the footplate of the cross the walls of the Holy City Jerusalem are shown.  This signifies that Christ was crucified outside the wall of Jerusalem so that his sacrifice would be accessible to the whole world. 
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BELOW CHRISTíS FEET
Below the feet of Christ we see the letters IT and MAPB. They stand for The Mount of Golgopha "and" The place of the skull has become Paradise. 
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SKULL OF ADAM
Under these letters we find the skull of Adam. Holy Tradition teaches that Christ was crucified in exactly the same place as Adam was buried. When the blood and water poured forth from the side of Christ Adam was sanctified and the whole world was given the hope of salvation from Adam until the end of the end of time. 

  


~ TWO SKULLS on the 'TREEN' CROSS ~

RARE DOUBLE SKULLS ... 

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ADAM AND EVE
This is an interesting crucifix with its two skulls (Adam and Eve) under the feet of the Crucified Christ.  It is double sided as reverse is of Christ's baptism. Remember in the (Greek) Orthodox Church the baby is baptized, confirmed and given communion in one rite! This icon crucifix is also a reminder of baptism and communion. The placement of the cross layout and figures match Greek and Russian Icons from the 17 century.  The "Treen" cross follows the icons of events in the life of Christ at His Baptism with the people who witnessed His baptism. For more information click icon above.

 


~  RUSSIAN CROSS ~

 
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FILLED WITH RICH SYMBOLISM
A beautiful example from MOTKA filled with rich symbolism. Note God the Father in the clouds on top and the Dove between the two angles just above the Head of Christ, giving the imagery of the triune God. Two more angels are placed on the second crossbar and the skull of Adam rests under the feet of Christ, awaiting the moment of redemption!




~ TRIPTYCH 1800s ~

KAZAN VIRGIN

BACK OF TRIPTYCH (OPEN)
2.75 by 4.25 inches
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SYMBOLIZING EITHER
12 APOSTLES OR SPECIFIC SAINTS
This triptych is similar in size as the one we show on the Old Believers site, only it has the two sides still in tact. Opens to:  . (Kazan Virgin not sure if figures symbolize specific saints or the 12 apostles)

 

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP: 


for more information see
ESSAY on ADAMUNDER CALVARY - Fr Bagatti OFM
CHAPEL of ADAM (Church of Holy Sepulchre) Jerusalem
A great link showing the 1st century 
rocky terrain where Christ Was Buried
GOLGATHA (cross section map)
SKULL CRUCIFIXES    -   IDENTIFY THIS? two skulls)
 see what the Workshop has offered 
SKULL ROSARIES (Memento Mori)
DIA de los MUERTO  -  A Celebration in Mexico
more good links
TRAVEL ICONS - (old believers)
VISIT MOTKA, FOR MORE RUSSIAN ANTIQUITY
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