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Crucifix with Instruments of the Passion

By Michele Devitt, Curatorial Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator

While reorganizing two crates of crosses from our Marian Library collection, we came across this Good Friday cross, titled "Crucifix with Instruments of the Passion" that dates from the early 20th century. This crucifix displays Arma Christi —"Weapons of Christ". These instruments were frequently used in Christian art, especially in the late Middle Ages, and are meant to represent the weapons that Christ used in his victory of Satan. 

How many of these 16 instruments of Jesus' last days can you identify in the full image below?

  • Rooster
  • Skull and cross bones
  • Dice and Jesus' robe
  • Swords
  • Lance
  • Reed
  • Water pitcher and basin
  • Holy grail/chalice
  • Whip
  • Lantern
  • Hammer
  • Pincers
  • Pitcher/vessel of myrrh or vinegar
  • Titulus crusis/INRI
  • Sponge on a pole for vinegar
  • Shroud

crucifix with a golden Christ and sliver instruments used in his crucifixion surrounding the cross

See this Wikipedia article to learn more about Arma Christi, "Weapons of Christ."

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