Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hanging Lamp with a Hand Holding a Cross

made 500–700, restored and possibly reconfigured 1900s
Copper alloy
Overall: 13 3/4 x 16 1/4 in. (35 x 41.3 cm) Overall (with stem mount and plate): 18 3/4 x 16 1/4 in. (47.7 x 41.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1974
Accession Number:
Not on view
The flowerlike terminals of the lamp arms held glass vessels full of oil. The hand was probably an offering for a cure as suggested by the large Greek inscription on the cross, “Christ help [me],” and by the inclusion of healing saints. “Saints Kosmas and Damianos be praised” is inscribed over the twin medical saints whose medical kits are at the base. The other figures are Saint Stephen at the center, flanked by Saints Paul (left) and Peter (right), with the Virgin and Child enthroned above.
Inscription: Inscribed in Greek:
(on left arm of cross): St. Paul
(on right arm): St. Peter
(above central figure): St. Stephen
(flanking central figure): Christ save us
(on lower arm): Sts. Cosmas and Damian be praised
[ T. H. G. Howard-Sneyd, London (sold 1974)]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Patterns of Collecting," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) no. 1965/1975 (1975). p. 161.

Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 557, pp. 621-622.

Bouras, Laskarina, and Maria G. Parani. Lighting in Early Byzantium. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2008. no. 30, pp. 96-97.

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