Artefacts from 7000 Years of Civilisation

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Our Retreat museum.

We aim to provide a space for the contemplation of Christian art and history, a museum & library of information and artefacts for those seeking education and knowledge about our Christian heritage.  The museum also contains a range of artefacts from over 7000 years of civilisation.

This is an evolving collection with new acquisitions being added and items being sold in auction.  Proceeds from auction sales are directed to the development of our Retreat and our Christian and humanitarian activities.

A Selection of Artefacts

 

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Left:  Late 3rd cent. AD, Christian Temple wall plaque considered to be the earliest depiction (man made) of the face of Jesus Christ (lesser possibility the face of John The Baptist).  Height 20 cm.  Two other known examples, one in the British Museum, the other in a private collection.  Provenance find area – Roman North Africa, Carthage region.  Right:  Late 3rd/early 4th cent. AD, Christian Temple wall plaque.  Height 24 cm.  Christian symbols of two facing peacocks and ‘tree of life’.  Seemingly unique.  Provenance find area – Roman North Africa, Thysdrus (El Djem) region.

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Left:  9th-10th cent. AD Byzantine,  large bronze reliquary cross, height 11.7 cm.  The Virgin Mary with a Saint on each arm of the crucifix – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Baptist?   Right: Jesus Christ on Crucifix. Extremely rare. Provenance ex –  Europas Ostliches Erbe, Munchen Auction 2004.  Cf. Wamser L. Die von Byzanz

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Left: 15th-16th cent. AD. Solid silver Byzantine icon of Our Lady and the child Jesus Christ flanked by Angels.  Height 7 cm.  Provenance ex- UK auction house.  Right: 10-12th cent. AD.  Bronze icon of St Thomas holding large cross and and staff with the dove of peace.  Height 8 cm. Provenance ex- London, UK antiquities dealer.

 

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12th cent. AD, Templar ‘pure silver’ seal ring.  Early Templar heritage Cross Potent, described as unique and of higher status ownership.  Provenance find area – Holy Land region.  Provenance ex Macedonian antiquities dealer.

 

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Left:  Late 3rd cent. AD, large terracotta plaque fragments of earliest Christian Temples.  Widths 7.9 cm and 9.3 cm.  Important as an architecture record and rare.  Provenance find area – Roman North Africa, Carthage region.  Right:  6th -7th cent. AD,  Byzantine bronze censor (incense burner).  Diameter 8 cm.  Rare, as complete with hanging chain and hook.  Provenance ex London UK antiquities dealer, find area – ancient Antioch region.

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12th-13th cent. AD, high status pilgrims large reliquary cross (completion of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, likely property of a Lady).  Height 10.5 cm.  Face of Jesus Christ sculpted in bone, unpolished gem stones with The Virgin Mary engraved on reverse.  Seemingly unique.  Provenance ex private collection from Orne, NW France.

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Left:  1st cent. AD, earliest Christian ring with engraved fish on gem stone.  The fish was the first Christian symbol used as a secret mark of the followers of Christ (penalty of death/imprisonment at this time).  Rare.  Provenance find area – Roman North Africa.  Right:  Late 3rd/early 4th cent. AD, Chi Rho symbol with twisted band, earliest Christogram and rare.  Provenance ex-London UK antiques dealer, find area – Roman North Africa.

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Left:  9th-10th cent. AD,  large bronze reliquary cross.  Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary, left and John the Baptist right.  Heigh 11.2 cm.  Extremely rare, one example in the British Museum and another in a private collection.  Provenance find area Byzantine Empire region – ex New York antiquities dealer.  Right:  13th cent. AD, bronze ‘Anima Sola’ (lonely soul) male figure depicting the official Catholic recognition of Purgatory at the Council of Lyon, 1274 AD.  Height 4.4 cm.  Seemingly unique in this form.  Provenance ex-Spanish antiquities dealer, find area – Spain.

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9th-11th cent. Byzantine. AD purest gold pendant crucifix with the five wounds of Jesus Christ in added gold orbs.  Height 2.3 cm.  Gold suspension hoop is a later replacement.  Provenance UK Gold Jeweller Fort William, Scotland.

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Left:  9th-mid 12th century AD, ‘pure silver’ seal ring depicting a Byzantine or European Knight on horseback holding a sword.  Unique in this form.  Provenance area – Eastern Byzantine region.  Right:  13th cent. AD, Knight’s rowel spur with detailed ornamental engraving.  Recorded as a Templar’s spur due to the fineness of construction and being made in bronze and not silver.  Templar Knights were not allowed spurs in silver, only bronze.  Spurs of this quality would normally be made in silver or gilded silver.  Very rare due to its completeness, condition and with attached fixings still present.  Provenance find area – Holy Land region.

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Left:  9th-10th cent. AD Byzantine,  large bronze reliquary cross, height 11 cm.  The Virgin Mary framing the child Jesus Christ, flanked by angels.   Right:  Jesus Christ on Crucifix flanked by the Virgin Mary and St Peter.  Extremely rare.  Provenance ex-London UK antiquities dealer.

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Left:   11th-12th cent. AD, substantial ornate Islamic silver seal ring, with two heads in profile.  The first with the helmet of an Arabian or Saracen Knight.   Seemingly unique in this composition.  Provenance find area – ancient Antioch region.  Middle:  11th-12th cent. AD, substantial ornate Islamic silver seal ring, with carved Knight on horseback on gemstone.  Very rare.  Provenance find area – ancient Antioch region.  Right:  11th-12th cent. AD, substantial ornate Islamic silver seal ring, with carved leaping  lion on gemstone. Very rare.  Provenance find area – ancient Antioch region.

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Left:  11th-13th cent. AD, Holy Land pilgrims lead badges in various crucifix forms.  All uncleaned and rare.  Provenance find area – Jerusalem region.  Right:  10th-13th cent. AD, Byzantine and European silver and bronze crosses in various styles.  Provenance find area – Holy Land and Byzantine Empire region.

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10th – 12th cent. AD, Byzantine solid silver seal matrix stamp with peacock (eternal life) and other Christian symbolism.  Probably unique.  Height 2.4 cm, diameter 1.4 cm.  Provenance ex-antiques dealer Evesham, UK.

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Left:  12th-13th cent. AD, large Knight’s ‘pure silver’ seal ring.  Described as Templar or Hospitaller. Rare.  Provenance find area – Holy Land.  Middle:  12th cent. AD, Knight’s ‘pure silver’ seal ring, with hunting dog heads on shoulders.  Rare.  Described as Knight’s Templar ring with early Cross Fleury design.  Provenance find area – Holy Land.  Right:  12th-13th cent. AD bronze ring with shoulder and side engravings.   Star of Bethlehem Cross, design may denote owned by a minister of the Church.  Prov. Holy Land region.

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Thomason Medallic Bible c 1830 AD.  Complete set of five leather bound and gold embossed volumes containing 60 x 73 mm diameter medals.  Very rare as only three complete sets known.

Sir Edward Thomason, a wealthy patron of the arts (industrialist & inventor),  felt divinely inspired to “promote the glory of God by impressing the Word of God upon indestructible metals.”  Thomason commissioned the finest engravers in Europe to reproduce the religious works of well-known Renaissance artists.  The works span the Old and New Testaments.  The reverse of each medal contains a dense text scripture quotation related to the subject of each medal.

In 1970, the Franklin Mint issued a small-format recreation from newly engraved dies, with much simplified text. Whilst the original Thomason medals were struck in silvered white metal with a diameter of 73mm, the Franklin Mint Version medals were struck in bronze with a diameter of 44mm.

 

Note:  Authorised by the Cyprus Dept of Antiquities.  All items have legitimate acquisition provenances external to the Republic of Cyprus.

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