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Tau cross
  • Tau cross
    Bleckberg, Niclas the elder, born 1749 - died 1806
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Tau cross

  • Place of origin:

    Karlshamn (made)
    Herrestad (worn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bleckberg, Niclas the elder, born 1749 - died 1806 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stamped silver with filigree overlay, set with two pastes

  • Museum number:

    376-1886

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 70, shelf C, box 3

Although traditional jewellery was worn throughout Sweden, and has a distinct Swedish character, there are marked differences between the different provinces. Skåne province, in the extreme south of Sweden, has the richest tradition, and more jewellery was worn there than in any other district. Almost all the Swedish traditional jewellery at the V&A comes from Skåne.

When Sweden became Protestant in 1527, Swedish women continued to wear crosses rich with symbolism and religious pendants like their medieval predecessors. The most typical Swedish cross is the tau (T-shaped) cross, also called the cross of St Anthony, from Skåne. Sweden is the only country which has tau crosses among its traditional jewellery.

The oldest tau crosses were made from solid metal. In the late 18th century the silversmiths of Skåne started to experiment with new styles and methods of manufacture. The glass stones on this cross were originally set over red foil, but the colour has now completely vanished. Many pieces of Swedish traditional jewellery use the renaissance motif of an angel's head with wings.

This cross is marked with the Swedish 'cat's paw' silver mark, the circular town mark of Karlshamn, and the maker's mark NB. Niclas Bleckberg the elder was a silversmith who specialised in making traditional jewellery in Karlshamn, from before 1799 to 1806.

Physical description

Tau cross pendant with winged angel's head above, covered with a tracery of filigree and set with two clear pastes, formerly backed with red foil. There are 17 pendent discs of various sizes hanging from the sides and base.

Place of Origin

Karlshamn (made)
Herrestad (worn)

Date

ca. 1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Bleckberg, Niclas the elder, born 1749 - died 1806 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Stamped silver with filigree overlay, set with two pastes

Marks and inscriptions

'NB...'
Mark of Niclas Bleckberg (the elder) of Karlshamn.
On the front, on the lower left extremity of the cross.

3 crowns
Mark for 830 standard silver, Sweden.
On the front, on the lower right extremity of the cross, opposite the maker's mark.

Illegible circular mark
Probably the town mark of Karlshamn.
On the front, on the lower left extremity of the cross.

Dimensions

Length: 14.0 cm, Width: 10.7 cm, Depth: 0.8 cm

Descriptive line

Silver tau cross (striglakors) with filigree overlay and pendent discs, Skåne (Sweden), c.1800.

Materials

Silver; Pastes

Techniques

Filigree

Subjects depicted

Tau cross; Angel

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Christianity; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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