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Crucifix ............... with a 'you-know-what'.

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Nice find Robin, but these crosses have been produced until the 1950s. The skull was nothing more than a Memento Mori.

When I was young, I saw these, and many other shapes, sizes and materials, being sold in the verger's shop, with chains of beats large enough to tow a small battleship.

From the early 14th century, when there were no Rosaries yet, the custom of prayer-chains developed. These had two ends and were not tied in a circle. The origine of these rosaries (as they developed to be later lies in the Crusades, when Christian soldiers noticed the Islamic prayer-chains with 33 beads). So to stipulate the vanity and mortality, one, or in some very severe cases, both ends of the chain were decorated with a skull in bone, silver, clay or any other material matching the purse of the buyer. The skull remained a very strong symbol in Catholisism, up to the recent past.

Clerics are free to buy their crosses where ever they want, and as such, there is no official Army Pattern Chaplains Cross in any army (at least not to my knowledge), there were commercial religious products of bakelite, tin, plastics and other cheap materials, sold in stores to soldies and sailors, but these were by no means "official".

So for eBayers, I can advice not to take the big words as "official" of "issue" serious; I am not...

Also, the age of these arte-facts are generaly over rated, The big boom of this simple, mechanicaly produced stuff dates after 1875, when cheap nickle-alloys were available, copper framed crosses may be older, but the finish of the corpus is important; cast and not moulded... With so many Catholics in Europe this stuff is as rare as whale manure on the bottem of the ocean (no disrespect to you, nor to your find, Robin!)

Edited by Odulf
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  • 3 years later...

About 17 years ago we were in the middle of nowhere in Italy and found a stone mason making stuff for the tourist shops... He showed us some not for sale stuff (original roman) and in the back of his garden, covered in Ivy i found this skull. it weighs a ton. it had been made by his grandfather for the church butskull.jpg.2bd17e8960c563a0f4537c665c8ae154.jpg he had been unable to sell it in the village, so had been in the garden ever since...

Needless to say, I bought it.... It stands about 45cm high and I think is chiseled out of granite. It is at the bottom of the garden and I keep it ivy free.

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