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Ethiopian Crosses - A Lustrous Part of Culture

12/19/2009 16:07

Ethiopian Cross Necklace

These cross pendants are a very important aspect of Ethiopian culture. Christianity was established in the Ethiopian highlands as early as the 4th century. For over 1600 years Christian Ethiopians have worn neck crosses as a symbol of faith. The cross, made of an alloy of silver, was suspended around the neck by a cotton cord called a “mateb” which was received when someone was baptized. The Ethiopian cross is the most prized personal possession and most valued to collectors of all highland selections, usually named from the region that they originate. The crosses feature various designs from the simplistic Greek or Latin crucifix to the more elaborate with flared arms, trefoils, decorative projections, complicated openwork designing and patterns of interwoven lines symbolizing eternity. Hinges and crowns show the later influence of 19th century European medals. The Star of David is worn by the Falasha, a small group of Jewish settlers living near Gonder, Ethiopia.

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