Crucifix pendant from Denmark

Type: Jewelry, Pendants
Date: Early tenth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Denmark
Medium: Gold
Dimensions: H 4.1 cm
Description: This sizable gold crucifix pendant was found in 2016 near Aunslev, Denmark. The face and feet of Christ are executed with granulation and his torso and limbs with filigree. The hook at the top shows that the object was worn as a pendant; its wealthy owner probably lost it, because it was not found in a grave. The crucifix has been dated to ca. 900 on the basis of stylistic resemblance to examples in silver found in Denmark and Sweden, largely associated with women's graves.

The pendant appears to be the earliest evidence for Christianity in Viking-age Denmark (the Jelling stone that depicts the crucified Christ and claims that Harald Bluetooth "made the Danes Christian" was erected ca. 965). A ship burial of about 925 at Ladby, near Aunslev, contained a man, multiple dogs, eleven horses, and no objects with Christian imagery. In tenth-century Denmark, polytheism and Christianity existed side by side, and it is possible that the owner of the pendant venerated more than one divinity.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 6
Image Credits: Linda Safran (at National Museum of Denmark)

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Crucifix pendant Crucifix pendant, reverse