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  • A rood is a cross or crucifix, especially a large one in a church. Alternatively, it is a large sculpture or painting of the crucifixion of Jesus. Rood is an archaic word for pole, from Old English rōd "pole", specifically "cross", from Proto-Germanic *rodo, cognate to Old Saxon rōda, Old High German ruoda "rod". Rood was originally the only Old English word for the instrument of Jesus Christ's death. The words crúc and in the North cros appeared by late Old English; "crucifix" is first recorded in English in the Ancrene Wisse of about 1225. More precisely, the Rood was the True Cross, the specific wooden cross used in Christ's crucifixion. The word remains in use in some names, such as Holyrood Palace and the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood. The phrase "by the rood" was used in swearing, e.g. "No, by the rood, not so" in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In church architecture the rood, or rood cross, is a life-sized crucifix displayed on the central axis of a church, normally at the chancel arch. The earliest roods hung from the top of the chancel arch, or rested on a plain "rood beam" across it, usually at the level of the capitals of the columns. This original arrangement is still found in many churches in Germany and Scandinavia, although many other surviving crosses now hang on walls. Numerous near life-size crucifixes survive from the Romanesque period or earlier, with the Gero Cross in Cologne Cathedral and the Volto Santo of Lucca the best known. The prototype may have been one known to have been set up in Charlemagne's Palatine Chapel in Aachen, apparently in gold foil worked over a wooden core in the manner of the Golden Madonna of Essen, though figureless jeweled gold crosses are recorded in similar positions in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in the 5th century. Many figures in precious metal are recorded in Anglo-Saxon monastic records, though none now survive. Notables sometimes gave their crowns, necklaces, or swords to decorate them. The original location and support for the surviving figures is often not clear but a number of northern European churches preserve the original setting in full – they are known as a "Triumphkreuz" in German, from the "triumphal arch" of Early Christian architecture. As in later examples the Virgin and Saint John often flank the cross, and cherubim and other figures are sometimes seen. A gilt rood in the 10th century Mainz Cathedral was only placed on a beam on special feast days. Wikipedia

Freebase Commons Visual Art /visual_art

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