18th c.
Museum Purchase

Center aisle, History Gallery

Crosses. Description: 1 of 5; different sizes, wooden, from all over Mexico; all have wooden plaques with "INRI" which are attached to top of cross a. 8' long; 5' 7 3/8" crosspiece; 2 3/4" thick; 3 3/8" x 17 1/2" b. 8 1/2' long; 5' 5" crosspice; 2" thick; 9" x 19 1/4" sign c. 7' 1 1/2" long; 51 1/2" crosspiece' 2 1/4" thick; 11" x 6" sign d. 6' 11 1/2" long; 44 1/4" crosspiece; 1 3/4" thick; 11 34" x 5 1/2" sign e. 6' 1 1/2" long; 40" crosspiece; 1" thick; 9 1/4" x 5 1/4" sign .6a & .6e Art Screen B Room A .6c & .6d on display - center aisle History Gallery From the History Information Station Object: Two crosses made of carved wood which has been covered with gesso and gilded. They date to 18th century Mexico. INRI is an acronym for the Latin phrase Iesus Nazerenus Rex Iudaeorum, which means Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. It was first at the top of the cross in mockery by Roman soldiers at Christ's crucifixion. History: These are Latin crosses, the type on which Christ was crucified. This type of cross is the symbol of Christ's sacrifice and, generally, of the Christian religion. In the Middle Ages, the cross became the mark of ecclesiastical authority, and was borne on weapons and banners. These crosses would have been used in the interior of a mission church, the ground-plan of which usually also followed the shape of the Latin cross. Museum Purchase The Sword and the Cross In 1573 Philip II of Spain issued a directive on conquests and settlements. It established the mission system as the avenue by which the Native peoples encountered on the Spanish frontier were to be brought into the State and Church. Missions were expensive and were subsidized by the crown. Royal support, however, meant royal control, and political motives dictated where missions were established. Soldiers and the priests bore the major responsibility for exploring new territory, for controlling the Indians, building churches, and maintaining the supply ships. Gaspar de Portola and Fray Junipero Serra carried the sword and the cross into California in 1769. The missionaries chosen to found the California missions were the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), or Franciscans, a powerful mendicant order within the Roman Catholic Church. The Order was founded early in the 13th century by St. Francis of Assisi. Francis urged his followers to love poverty and the poor, and they dedicated themselves to a life of preaching, penance, and the observation of vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Used: INRI

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