The Cross of Cong–Rebecca Leung

18 Sep

The Cross of Cong is an ornamental processional cross that is one of the best examples of woodworking and metalworking in 12th century Ireland. The cross is made of oak wood and adorned with gold, silver, niello, copper, bronze, brass, and enamel. The center was supposedly made to hold a relic, but it has long been lost.

The Cross arrived in Ireland in 1123 from Rome. The Cross was moved to Cong Abbey, an abbey founded by the Augustinians. Its creation was commissioned by Tairdelbach Ua Conchobair, who was the king of Ireland.

On the Cross are several Irish transcriptions. Translated into English, it means:

+ By this cross is covered the cross on which the creator of the world suffered

A prayer for Muiredach Ua Dubthaig, senior ecclesiastic of Ireland

A prayer for Tairdelbach Ua Conchobair, king of Ireland, by whom was made this ornament

A prayer for Domnall mac Flannacáin Uí Dubthaig from the borders of Connacht, successor of Commán and Ciarán, by whom was made this ornament

A prayer for Máel Ísu mac Bratáin Uí Echach, who made this ornament

+ By this cross is covered the cross on which the creator of the world suffered

The Cross of Cong really appealed to me because of its ornate beauty and antiquity. I was surprised to learn that it truly did survive through the ages—that it was a little more than 800 years old. I was surprised to find that walking around in a small Irish museum, I was able to find something that really called out to me.

http://www.museum.ie/en/exhibition/list/focus-on-cross-of-cong.aspx?mode=live&article=19ef33fa-11d7-4626-a384-e85626e58aca

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