Eastern Europe, Greece, ca. 19th century CE. A large, hand-carved wood bread stamp depicting Jesus standing holding a staff with a banner bearing a cross. He is surrounded by a field of floral designs with two crosses of equal-length arms, one on either side of his head. On the back is a large, projecting wooden handle; this side is also decorated with motifs of vines, crosses, and Greek letters. Size: 2" L x 6.7" W x 9.5" H (5.1 cm x 17 cm x 24.1 cm)
Bread stamps, known as prosphora (for "that which is offered") seals, are used to decorate the bread for the Eucharist in the Orthodox church. The practice of using elaborate motifs to decorate the bread goes back to the period of Christian Persecution, when decorative motifs were used to mask the image of the cross.
Provenance: Ex-private Ventura County, CA collection
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