Curious Crosses from the Church of the East

Why We Recommend it

This exhibit offers a curious window into the religious iconography of the Church of the East, showcasing ancient Nestorian crosses ( 12th-13th centuries) found in north-west China.


The exhibit at Hong Kong University Museum will showcase more than 700 pieces of re-installed Nestorian crosses which are associated with the Church of the East which adopted the doctrine of Nestorianism following a schism with the Church in the 4th century AD.

From the 6th century it expanded greatly, establishing communities in India (the Saint Thomas Christians), among the Mongols in Central Asia, and in China, which became home to a thriving community under the Tang dynasty from the 7th to the 9th century.

In the 13th and 14th centuries the church experienced a final period of expansion under the Mongol Empire, where influential Nestorian Christians sat in the Mongol court. These curious religious artifacts were cast in the Ordos region in north-west China during the Yuan dynasty (1272 – 1368).

 Measuring between three and eight centimetres in height, they are flat plaque-like ornaments with an outline in high relief and have a loop on the back suggesting they were used as personal seals and were worn on the body.


When: 10 Jun 2015 - 31 Dec 2022 Where: University Museum and Art Gallery – Sai Wan