Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Ethiopian Crosses

[Design above by Samperton and Hackathorn.]

There is an official David Hicks site with archival images of the late British designer's work and his travels. One section shows photos of objects and sites seen during a journey in Africa, which later inspired some of Hicks's designs. Interestingly, a large silver Ethiopian cross was among the items that drew Hicks's eye.

These traditional, snowflake-like, intricately cut or incised processional crosses from Ethiopia have been carried for centuries by African priests during festivals and church services. Ethiopia happens to be Africa's oldest Christian nation, dating from c. 325 AD., and scholars believe that the elegant brass and silver crosses first appeared during the Gondarian period, 1632-67.

Shown above is an amazing late-18th-century brass processional cross from Ethiopia (Gondar) that belongs to Emory University's antiquities museum, the Carlos. If you are in Atlanta, it is definitely worth a look.

As I wrote a while back, smaller versions of this style cross were seen last year in the December House Beautiful, in a Christmas vignette done by designers Schuyler Samperton and Anna Hackathorn. It's a lovely idea for someone who celebrates Christmas but eschews cutesy pieces and has a globe-trotter decorating style.

Also this season, Wisteria is selling a 29" tall African silver cross with the same characteristic lacy details at each of its points. To see a wider array of sizes, patterns and prices, visit the Hamill Gallery.

[Image above of Ethiopian cross by Laurent Deladune; cross available through the Hamill Gallery.]

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