The processional cross of Bourbon, dating from 1320-1330, is an extraordinary masterpiece of large size, 115 x 70 cm. It is embossed in fire gilt silver foil and decorated with translucent enamel.
The cross is on display in the church of Santa Maria Assunta, and is carried in procession on the first Sunday of September for the Festival of the Nativity of Mary.
The work was part of a large group of processional crosses found in sanctuaries along the border of the Angevin Realm and Borbona was one of the founding Angevin cities and destined to be one of the 99 castles of L’Aquila.
It was made by a major Tuscan goldsmith Andrea di Jacopo d’Ognabene (1284-1320), at the court of Anjiò. Its complex iconography reflects the great religious issues involved in the dramatic conflict that in the early decades of the fourteenth century divided Franciscan Spirituals from the Curia moved to Avignon: the Trinity and the primacy of the Holy Spirit.
On the back, the Christ is lifted on the Tree of Life that stands at the centre of Eden and his blood redeems Adam’s skull buried at the base of Golgotha. On the front, Christ is sitting on the apocalyptic throne, at the end of time, crowned like an Angevin king and surrounded by the four evangelists.
The extraordinary figures of John the Evangelist with eagle’s head, at the top, and John the Baptist, at the bottom (facing), highlight the capital importance of the Holy Spirit, as the passionate Franciscan spirituality wants.