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The Christian Church in Ethiopia, which dates to about 1300, offers a variety of crosses. Processional crosses, the largest and most elaborate type, have a hollow shaft so that they may be mounted on tall poles and carried by priests during religious ceremonies. These crosses are often decorated with bright colored cloths that allow people to see them clearly, thus becoming a symbolic marker to be followed by the faithful.
These hand-held crosses belonged to chiefs. The square base on this wooden hand-held cross alludes to the tomb of Adam as well as the tomb from which Christ arose, symbolizing a rebirth of humanity. The human figures on each side of the handle illustrate the belief that Adam, the man, and Christ, who represents a “new” man, are connected.