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The Processional Cross in Late Medieval England: The Dallye Cross
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The Processional Cross in Late Medieval England: The Dallye Cross (Hardback)

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Processional crosses were destroyed in such great numbers at the Reformation that we perhaps forget what an important role they once played in community and liturgical life (as they still do in Brittany, Spain, Portugal and many other parts of Catholic Europe). Tracing the form of the processional cross back to specific ceremonies in the sixth-century Byzantine world, Colum Hourihane shows that they had become 'dallye crosses' by the later Middle Ages, objects indispensable to everyday religious observance. Core to the book is a history of the procession itself which was an occasion for clergy and public to join together in festive community events. Processions came to develop their own liturgical status, separate from other ceremonies, and associated with membership of a professional organization or religious fraternity. Large and well-supported processions accompanied the celebration of saints linked to the parish or the definition of parish boundaries, while others were associated with membership of a professional organization or religious fraternity.

As well as recreating this lost world of processions, with all their music, banners and colorful vestments, Colum Hourihane's book also catalogs all the crosses currently known to exist in England, whether in museums, priories or parish churches, from the plainest examples to those that represent craftsmanship and art of the highest order. Iconic of Christ's ultimate sacrifice - his death for our sins upon the Cross - and attributed with miraculous powers, these crosses offer a glimpse of a world in which community, religion and landscape are woven together in a complex tapestry of secular, mythic and religious observance.

Colum Hourihane, FSA, is currently Director of the Index of Christian Art, Princeton University. He has published extensively in the field of medieval art and iconography, including Image and Belief: Studies in Celebration of the Eightieth Anniversary of the Index of Christian Art (1999), The Mason and his Mark: Masons' Marks in the Medieval Irish Archbishoprics of Cashel and Dublin (2000) and Gothic Art in Ireland 1169-1550, Enduring Vitality (2003). He has also acted as editor and contributor to a large number of monographs and is the author of papers in a range of British, Irish and North American journals.

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