Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dark Cross, Light of Life

I made this dark coptic style cross and the crown heart as a set of beads to use together, and wasn't sure what to use with it.

The reverse side of both have deeply embossed textures, sanded and polished to a bright sheen. They look like black lacquer work, if you've seen polished lacquered wood. Depths of gloss, a glassy shiny finish.

But with the look of an artifact, rustic and worn-looking around the edges. Like something that went on the crusades, or came back from the dark continent in the middle ages.

This weekend with the power outage, I started wrapping wire and forming shapes, bead stick links and using black ceramic beads and amber-toned glass beads. Long pierced wire sticks hammered and forged.

Finished off with leather cord to go around the neck, doubled and wrapped tightly in steel darkened wire.

The circular shaped connector is made with tightly wrapped darkened steel wire, with the ebony colored cross and crown heart beads suspended from it. This is a long, hanging pendant. Best worn by someone who enjoys substantial sized jewelry.

The heart-shaped crown has a deep fleur d'lys design in it, topped with a reddish brown ceramic bead.

The coptic christian church is very active in Ethopia and Egypt, the word 'copt' means 'egyptian'. This style of armed cross resembles their designs. Old Coptic crosses often incorporate a circle; sometimes large, sometimes small, the circle represents the eternal and everlasting love of God, as shown through Christ's crucifixion. It also symbolises Christ's halo and resurrection. The Coptic cross is widely used in the Coptic church and the Ethiopian and Eretrian churches.

Filigree is often used in coptic crosses. In Ethiopia, these crosses can be so sophisticated that it's difficult to find the cross in the design.

Because Africa includes a blend of many religions, the Coptic cross allows Copts to easily identify themselves to each other, and to others. The cross has played this role throughout the history of Christianity, along with a number of other symbols such as fish, and at one time, wearing the cross could be very dangerous; in the Roman Empire, for example, Christians were heavily persecuted in the early days of Christianity. Therefore, the cross symbolizes not only membership in the Christian faith, but a remembrance of early Christian martyrs who died because they wore the cross and refused to renounce their faith.

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