Sunday, 20 January 2013

Castledermot High Cross (North)

Moving on to the North High Cross, built from granite in the 9th century it is truly a remarkable cross and whilst it is not as well made as its neighbour to the south it is far more interesting with many biblical scenes carved into the stone. The Cross is approx2.2 meters in height and has a span at its widest point of 1.7 meters, with the shaft being 44cm x 23cm in thickness. The Case is 93cm in height with a thickness of 85cm x 75cm. Whilst the shaft of the cross appears a bit narrow for the head the shaft does not seem to fit its base correctly or it may have suffered some damage.

Each panel of the cross has a separate raised frame, whilst the cross and base have roll mouldings around their edges. Now my biblical knowledge is a bit rusty so I may stand corrected but the south facing of the base looks to depict the multiplication of the loaves and fishes from the New Testament. The upper panel of the base contains some wonderfully shaped spirals and lozenges. The cross shaft contains a broad interlacing pattern.

The West facing base is decorated with S shaped spirals withAdam and Eve depicted in the centre of the head of the cross. David, Daniel, Isaac and St Anthony shown in the arms of the cross

The base of the east face has linking s spirals.  With the Cross depicting the ‘Liberation of Saint Peter and Paul’.Saint Paul and Anthony breaking Bread in the desert and the three apostles. At the centre of the Cross head is the Crucifixion Beneath his arms Stephaton and Longinus may be seen, while above his arms are two angels. The other panels are similar depicting sets of 3 long robed figures.

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