Kunstsammlungen des Bistums Regensburg


1974/0069 - Ottokarkreuz (Ottokar cross)

The Ottokar cross was commissioned by King Ottokar Přemysl II of Bohemia (reigned 1253-1278) on the occasion of his own coronation, as evidenced by the inscription “REX OTAKARVS ME FECIT” on the back of the horizontal. The cross is thought to have been produced between 1261 and 1278 and contains a relic of the True Cross. The reliquary is in the form of a wooden patriarchal cross behind a section of mountain crystal on the front of the Ottokar cross. Its setting is in gold and precious stones, and the niello on the back put this amongst the most artistically important goldwork of the Middle Ages.

The reliquary is decorated with garnets, amethysts, rubies, jade, opals, pearls, sapphires and chrysolites. However, only a few of the original stones remain.

The part-gilded silver base was most likely commissioned by the Regensburg Bishop Nikolaus von Ybbs (1313-1340). It is thought to have been produced in Regensburg soon after 1313 and was decorated with lion’s feet, medallions, dragons and silver panels depicting saints.

Auxiliary Bishop Albert Ernst, Count of Wartenberg (1688-1715), had the Ottokar cross restored in 1695. The front as it appears today, in particular the setting with garnets, is largely the product of that restoration work. The back has remained almost unchanged with the fine, ornate niello work depicting the Crucifixion and the four Evangelists.


Astrid Riedler-Pohlers

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