Orthodox Cross
ca. 1850
14.75" x 7.75"
Icons, brass, enamel
Metallic icons, like this blessing cross, could be produced as repoussé (embossed) or from molds. This piece was made using a mold in the "earth casting" technique. In the first procedure, the metal alloy was poured into a negative that had been carved into stone. This icon has been embellished with black and white enamel and then "fire-gilded," where a thin layer of gold amalgam (a gold and mercury alloy) was applied and the mercury evaporated. This cross was likely blessing cross or personal devotional object, meaning that it was used by a priest to bless individuals or had been blessed and taken into a private home for prayer.