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Victorian Shadowbox - Tools of the Passion


Victorian Shadowbox - Tools of the Passion



This antique devotional crucifix is from the late 1800s. It is comprised of a detailed crucifixion scene surrounded by symbols of the events and tools of Christ’s Crucifixion, also known as the Arma Christi.

The frame of the shadowbox is solid wood that has been intricately carved and gilded. The reverse still has its original paper backing. A wire has been attached for hanging, although this type of box was originally designed to be recessed into a wall. The interior of the box is lined in satin and has silk flowers strewn across the bottom.

The vignette contains a highly detailed background print of the Blessed Virgin Mother and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross while behind them lays the city of Jerusalem. The crucifix is wood with a gilded metal corpus and a silver halo. Beneath the scene is a plaque that reads “Thy Kingdom Come” “100 days Indulgence each time - Pius IX, 14th June 1877”.


Symbolism of the Arma Christi:

The Pillar - where Christ was scourged.

The reed - which was placed in Jesus' hand as a sceptre in mockery.

INRI - Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews).

The Holy Grail - the chalice used by Jesus at The Last Supper, and which some traditions say Joseph of Arimathea used to catch His blood at the crucifixion.

The Seamless Robe of Jesus

The Dice - with which the soldiers cast lots for Christ's seamless robe.

The Rooster - that crowed after Peter's third denial of Jesus.

The Vessel -used to hold the gall and vinegar.

The Ladder - used for the Deposition, i.e. the removal of Christ's body from the cross for burial.

The Hammer - used to drive the nails into Jesus' hands and feet.

The Pincers - used to remove the nails.

The Vessel of Myrrh - used to anoint the body of Jesus, either by Joseph of Arimathea or by the Myrrh bearers.

The Shroud - used to wrap the body of Jesus before burial.

The Bag of Money - thirty pieces of silver, the price of Judas' betrayal.

The Lantern - used by the arresting soldiers at the time of the betrayal.

The Swords and Staves - used by the Roman soldiers.

The Sword - used by Peter to cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant.


Please note: The lantern and the whip should dangle from the cross, but they have fallen off and are loose in the case. The back is not sealed, so these should be easy to retrieve.

Dimensions: 22” tall x 18” wide x 3.5” deep