Antique Ethiopian Coptic Cross Pattée (E329QCE)


This antique Ethiopian Cross combines several cultural traditions: a circle surmounted on a Latin cross based on the Egyptian ankh set on a variation of a cross pattée with flaring arms that narrow towards the center and expand wider to its end. This unassuming yet striking pendant is very heavy and large with a massive presence that is softened by its smooth surface and simple elegance. Prior to the 20th-century, pendant crosses were often made in small villages by skilled local metal smiths that were simpler, yet strikingly beautiful and powerful.


The term Coptic-Cross refers to several variants in Christianity associated with the Coptic Orthodox Church. The African-metalwork crosses of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria were a foundation for Ethiopian-Cross design and symbolism. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church historically assimilated pre-Christian symbols of the cross and imparted its own meanings to them. Crosses with a circular shape on top were influenced by the pagan Egyptian round ankh which represented the sun god and eternal life granted by the gods to the ancient Egyptians, while to the to the Copts the circle symbolized Christ’s halo, divinity, and God’s everlasting and eternal love brought to man through the Sacrifice of His Son on the cross and resurrection. The circle was placed on the horizontal arms of the equal-armed of a Latin Cross, or, as here a Cross-Pattée with flaring arms that narrow to the center with rounded. Made using the lost-wax technique from coin silver with an attached suspension-loop, this African-jewelry cross with fine patina is a one-of-a-kind work of African-art. This cross is part of the VA Collection of Christian-Art and Spiritual-Jewelry. The necklace chain is not included.

For information and bibliographic citations click here for the blog The Evolution and Brilliance of Ethiopian Crosses

Additional information

Place of Origin

Africa, Horn of Africa


Antique (1200-1920)


18th-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Coin silver/alloy

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 3.125” Width: 1.75”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 7.94 cm Width: 4.445 cm



Weight Metric

42.52 gr


Very good, patina and wear consistent with age and use

Reference Number

E329 QCE