A cross from Limoges is a type of crosses made in workshops in Limoges in the southwest of France. During the early Middle Ages, starting in the 6th century, Limoges was an important centre for goldsmithing in Europe, where many non-professional goldsmiths and enamellers also worked. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Limoges was one of the most important centres of enamelled goods production in Europe. The products made at Limoges workshops were known as opus lemovicensis.
In addition to the quality of the Limousin products, the geographic position of Limoges – on the pilgrimage route from Paris to Santiago de Compostela – contributed to the distribution of the products. At the beginning of the 13th century, Limousin products began spreading across Europe, and other workshops started modelling their crosses on those from Limoges. Several such workshops were no doubt located in Central Europe.
The Limousin Christ on the Cross wears a crown on his head as Christ the King (Christus Regnans), iconographically reigning from the cross. This type of Christ on the Cross was found on processional crosses, altar crosses, book covers, and reliquaries. They were also buried with prominent deceased persons.
Local versions in Slovenia
In Slovenian territory there are four known examples of Christ on the Cross with characteristics typical of those from Limousin workshops, or else from workshops that modelled their work on that from Limoges. The first one is a cross with a Christ on the Cross from the village of Lokev na Krasu, dating from the late 12th century or early 13th century. It is the oldest among these four Slovenian artefacts. The other three artefacts, found in Vrzdenec, Koper and Breginj, were made during the first half of the 13th century. These three figures are all without crosses, and from a design point of view, are very much the same.
We are certain that the Lokev artefact comes from one of the workshops in Limoges due to its high-quality workmanship and clearly visible fine details. The other three objects are smaller and simpler, and we therefore believe that they were made at a later date by local Central European workshops that modelled the Limousin art. The figures from Vrzdenec and Breginj were probably cast in the same mold.
It is quite possible there are more similar objects in Slovenian territory, mostly in private possession.