South Cross and Ruined Cross, Kells, County Meath

9th-10 century CE

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The South Cross


Detail of cross arm and of the base with the inexplicable horsemen and soldiers


The Ruined Cross

The shaft of the Ruined Cross

Only the shaft survives of this cross. Like the Muiredach Cross, this cross has sides with abstract ornament and the front with narrative panels. What is depicted in the panel below? Help! Thanks to Doris Dittrich who sent this email: "I study Celtology in the University of Vienna and just yesterday had a lecture about the Irish High Crosses by Peter Harbison, who also wrote a great book about the issue. The panel you asked for is (according to his interpretation which seemed to be based on fundamental knowledge) the depiction of the baptism of Jesus Christ. The 2 figures on the left side of the panel are angels, also the little figure "floating" in the air. The two streams you see at the bottom of the panel are the two rivers Jor and Dan, who come together to be the Jordan, in which Jesus was baptised. The figure on the very right is John the baptiser, standing in the rivers, who pours water on the other figure standing in the water - Jesus."

Details of the shaft of the Ruined Cross

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Copyright Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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