49. The sign of the cross



The point, the line, the circle and the cross are the basic elements to express the world with graphical means. They can be symbolically translated in the terms of division and follow the elementary quadrants. The point is the unity of the primordial division (in the First Quadrant), the line indicates the first division (in the Second Quadrant), the circle is the ideal limitation in space providing a new unity (in the Third Quadrant) and, finally, the cross is the representation of the perfect division (in the Fourth Quadrant).

These signs and their (subjective) meaning expose a fundamental part of human thinking. The point is psychologically a characteristic for a stop, a moment and/or place of observation. Wait… Here is something to pay attention to. It could be a star in the universe or a tiny spec under an electron microscope. The point is the smallest and the largest representation in the cosmos.

The consciousness, which draws a line to establish a (first) division is associated with dual thinking and stands for the most elementary of human conceptual actions, closely associated with survival. The line is a horizon, a division in an endless space.

The circle connects the line with itself and ends the infinity of the two-division by creating a round space, the nearest image of a static harmony. The cognitive action is associated with the triple-division: one step further than the dual-division of the line. The third step leads to a ‘new’, delimited space, which could be used as a reference, a measure. The decision-pattern, which uses these bearings, is called ‘intelligence’.

The cross conveys the idea of a spatial allotment even further by introducing four domains. Just as the line results in a division (of space) in two parts, so the cross is a division in four parts. Transferred to the abstract world, it implies the power of the mind (intelligence), concentrating on the environment in terms of a ‘cross’ or four quadrants. The union between two objects (in a communication) is fixed in four interactions. Just like the bonds in arithmetic, where the plus- and minus sign (+/-) connect two different parts and the multiply- and dividing-sign (x/:) do the same in a different manner.

Such an elaborated, tetradic mind-pattern can only be established, if all other elementary conditions of life are catered for. Its value will be apparent in a complicated environment, with an overwhelming variety of information of which the observer is well aware.  A situation, in short, which is all too familiar to most participants in the European culture at the beginning of the twentieth-first century. However, this position is not unique: all cultures have faced the complications of life in their own right.

It is treacherous, for that very reason, to call certain older civilizations in which the cross is used as a symbol, as ‘primitive’. Because every individual or group capable of understanding the width of tetradic thinking is far from ‘primitive’. It has reached, instead, in the use of geometric symbolism, a high level of human understanding.

The archaeological discoveries of MELLAART (1967) near the Turkish town of Çatal Hüyük, might act as an example. They revealed walls with crossed figuration (fig. 356). In addition, the pottery painting of chalcolithic cultures was a tribute to quadripartite ornamentation (fig. 357) in a context where the participants must have been aware of the complexities of life.


Fig. 356 – The use of the cross as an ornamental decoration on a wall in Çatal Hüyük, Anatolia, Turkey. Before 6000 BC. In: MELLINK & FILIP (1974).

The cross can be interpreted in many ways, from the ‘four-fold revelation of the eternal word and the paired opposites of the protoplasm’ (BURCKHARDT, 1960) to the emblems of the underground movement and right-wing simple-minds, because  the square  is associated  with  a ‘straight’ attitude. The use of the swastika as a Nazi-emblem has discredited the symbol in the (Western) European culture for a long period after the Second World War. As a consequence, books like Jörg Lechler’s ‘Vom Hakenkreuz’ (1921) or Theobald Bieder’s book with the same title and from the same year are at present hard to find in any library (at least I couldn’t find them). The symbolism of the cross is, for better or worse, as versatile as division-thinking itself.


Fig. 357 – The decorations of Chalcolitic earth ware from various locations have distinct references to the cross. These examples were given by Werner MÜLLER (1961).

The cross represents – in its elementary understanding – a manifestation of the tetradic way of thinking. The sign can be followed in a wide geographical area and is scattered in history. Fig. 358 and 359a-c gives a very eclectic selection of the occurrences of the cross in place and time.


Fig. 358 – Two types of crosses on the ‘Stele von Moselkern‘. Christ syndesmos and pictogram of the Paradise. Bonn, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, c. 700 (Photo: Marten Kuilman, Febr. 2013). Fig. 51 in: ESMEIJER  (1978).


Fig. 359a – The sign of the cross in place and time: 1. Tombstone from the Migration Period (400 – 600 AD.) Bonn, Provinzialmuseum. (HAUTTMANN,  1929); 2. Fragment of a fibula, second century AD. (ABEGG, 1989); 3/6. Indian sun-symbols (HADINGHAM, 1983); 4. Cross of St. Cuthbert (LAING, 1979); 5. Rock-paintings at Bohuslän and Ostfold  (Sweden) (GELLING & ELLIS DAVIDSON, 1969).


Fig. 359b – The sign of the cross in place and time. 7. Cross of Beresford-Hope, 8/9th century (PALLOTTINO, 1966); 8. Crucifix on a cross from Birka, Uppland, 10th century (PALLOTTINO, 1966); 9. The key to universal movement, Mexico (CHURCHWARD, 1934); 10. From the Oseberg grave (TURVILLE-PETRE, 1964); 11. Fibula, Kärlich (Rijnland), 7th cent. . Bonn, Landesmuseum (BUSCH & LOHSE, 1965).


Fig. 359c – The sign of the cross in place and time. 12. Scandinavian crosses on the Isle of Man (KERMODE, 1907); 13. Inscriptions from pilgrims, Wadi Feiran, Sinaï  (SKROBUCHA, 1959); 14. Chi-Rho and crosses on the Isle of Man (KERMODE, 1907); 15. The ‘Vashva-Vajra’, a tantric symbol (OLSCHAK & WANGYAL, 1973); 16. Quatrefoil, Vind. Hist. Gr. 1v.; Vienna, National Libr. Hist. Gr. 6., 1056 AD. (SPATHARAKIS, 1981); 17. Alpha/omega on a tombstone of Gurmarc (ALLEN, 1887).

The cross appeared in Roman history, in particularly after the Second Punic war (220 BC), on the coins known as ‘monnaies a la croix’. NASH (1987) was of the opinion that the (numismatic) cross has its roots in ‘the sepals of the rose on third-century (BC) coins of Rhode.’ The Hungarian scholar János GÉCZI (2008) added, in a well informed article, the four characteristics of the rose as a symbolic instrument in classical days: 1. The rose as a sign of the cyclical (ancient) concept of time; 2. The rose as evaluation of fertility; 3. The rose as the expression of fullness of soul and 4. The rose as an expression of change.

The cross in later Western European religious history displayed a great diversity in forms of expression, but two major types can be distinguished: the Greek and the Latin cross. The first has beams of equal length. The second has the lower beam extended. Gregory of Nyssa represented the ‘eastern’ or Greek interpretation of the cross. He was born in Caesarea in Capadocia about 331 AD and was a younger brother of St Basil. He envisaged, in his book ‘Contra Eunomium‘ (‘Against Eunomius’, in twelve books/four treatises), a quadripartite cosmos (LADNER, 1955) corresponding to a division of a cross with beams of equal length (fig. 360/361).


Fig. 360 – The ‘Greek cross’, here in combination with other tetradic motifs, on ceramic bowls with inscriptions from the Byzantine area and from different periods. In: VABOULIS (1977).

Gregory’s balanced approach found already opposition in his own time: he was deposed in 376 AD and exiled. A synod of Arian bishops at Nyssa condemned him. However, the death of Valens in 378 AD brought an end to the persecutions, and he was allowed to return to his see. After Basil’s death in 379, Gregory played an important role in the Church, culminating in an approval of Basil’s ideas at the second ecumenical council of Constantinople in 381.


Fig. 361 – A Pantocrator Lectionary with texts in the shape of a cross. Greek minuscule, eleventh century. British Library; Department of Manuscripts; Add. 39603, f. 1b. In: GAUR (1984/1992).

The ‘western’ or Latin notion of the cross – as expressed by Augustine in his book ‘De doctrina Christiana‘ and the ‘Sermones‘ (LIII & CLXV) – does not emphasis the geometry, but strengthens the topology (stating the place) of the moral and mental order. The cross represents, in his view, the four invisible dimensions in the human mind to love.

The distinction between an ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ cross, however, is an invention of an interpretative, dualistic mind, and is often not in accordance with the views or intentions of the artists at the time.

In the Celtic cultural heritage, for instance, are many examples of ‘eastern’ motifs (fig. 362). Some scholars, like STRZYGOWSKI (1923), were inclined to imply a direct influence from the east (including Egypt). GINHART (1971) distinguished within the large number of sculptured crosses and ornaments in Central Europe – from the eighth and ninth century – a ‘Carolingian’ and a ‘Langobardian’ branch.

It can be deceitful to speak of geographical influences in this field. More remarkable is the fact, that during this period – from Ireland to Spain and into the Balkans, with the Longobards of Northern Italy as a spider in the web – representations of the cross showed such a similar form and shape (fig. 363). It is better to regard these ornamentations as being part and parcel of a genuine, reemerging ‘European’ culture.


Fig. 362 – A comparison between a Western/Celtic and an Eastern/Egypto-Byzantine cross and ornamentation. 1. Ornamental marble-plate, Tarragona, Spain, 6th/7th cent. Tarragona, Museo Archeologico. (De PALOL  & HIRMER, 1965); 2. Frontage piece from Nikorzminda (Georgia) (REISSNER, 1989); 3. Isle of Man (Calf of Man),  eighth century. Manx Museum, Douglas (FINLAY, 1973); 4. Tempietto with cross, Edfu (Egypt), 6th/7th cent. British Museum (WESSEL, 1963).


Fig. 363 – A Longobarden cross. The Po-valley in Italy became a central focus-point of pre- and early European cultural visibility. The region collected and redistributed the tetradic motifs from far (Egypt) and near (Celts) and developed its own specific style. In:  STEMBERGER (1977/79).

The quadripartite motif could be traced in the work of intellectuals, craftsmen and ‘artists’ all over early ‘Europe’. They did not deliberately produce their work with the intention to advocate a particular way of thinking, but it was done in the spirit of a balanced treatment of belief, ideas, nature and its ways of expression. Later generations destroyed the balance, either deliberately or unconsciously, by shifting the emphasis to results only, ignoring the circumstances.

SWIFT (1951/1970) indicated – in his study on the Roman influences of the early Christian art – that the (tau)cross had long been known in the traditional and liturgical customs and had a wide symbolic context. Evidence can be found from the cruciform buildings of Egypt and the Etruscan tombs from the seventh and eighth century before Christ to the Christian inscriptions in the catacombs of Rome.

The early Christians were reluctant to use the cross because of the association with the (pagan) death on the cross. They preferred to use the ‘chrismon‘, the monogram of Chi-Rho. A study of this subject in the catacombs of Rome by DE ROSSI (1857/1861, in: THOMAS (1981, p. 86) gave the following graphic representation (fig. 364).


Fig. 364 – The changes from the chirho-form of the cross, based on inscriptions in the Roman catacombs.   The symbol of the (Latin) cross was not popular in the first centuries after the death of Christ, because of its association with criminals and capital punishment. It was only around the year 400 AD that the connection with crime was weakened. From: de ROSSI,  J. (Ed.)(1857/1861). Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae septimo saculo antiquiores. 2 Vol., Rome. Also p. 86 in: THOMAS (1981).

The early-patristic meditations, as expressed by Justin the Martyr and Irenaeus, explained the cross as a symbol of four dimensions:

—————– latitudo ——  longitudo ——  sublimitas  ——-   profundum —————-

The good works are, in Augustine’s vision, metaphorical associated with the horizontal crossbeam (latitudo). The vertical top beam renders the hope of reward in heaven (sublimitas). The longer vertical lower beam translates the continuous perseverance (longitudo) and the part of the beam in the ground (profundum) is the ‘abyssus et profundum crucis‘, the depth of grace.

The emphasis on the line, either horizontal or vertical, find its source in a dualistic frame of mind, although this type of thinking is employed within a tetradic environment. Augustine’s character, with the tendency of a ‘born-again’ Christian and subsequently his work, bears the hallmark of this ‘dynamic’ dualism within a wider conceptual construction.

It must be to remember, that such a setting is not opposed to tetradic thinking. In fact, it is an essential part of it. This same type of alliance between different forms of division-thinking (numerology in combination with tetradic thinking) can be seen by Rhabanus Maurus (around 784 – 856 AD), who gave the symbolism of the (Greek) cross a central place in his ‘Carmen de laudibus S., Crucis‘: ‘de quatuor virtutibus principalibus quomodo ad crucem pertineant …’. The virtues are divided over the beams of the cross:

————————–  sublimas              –   spes

————————–  latitudo                –   karitas

————————–  longitudo             –   perseverantia

————————–  profundum          –  timor fides

He also compared the four evangelists with the four directions of the cross (fig. 365) or as dimensions given in a square (fig. 366), indicating the spiritual building of the habitation of God: ‘De quattuor figuris tetragonicis circa Crucem positis et spiritali edificio domus dei‘ (BURNIER, 1987).


Fig. 365 – The symbols of the Evangelists in the form of a cross. From the ninth century work of Rhabanus Maurus ‘De laudibus sancta crucis‘. Vienna Nationalbibliothek, Cod. Vindob. 652, fol. 20v. In: KESSLER (1977) and PELIKAN (1985).


Fig. 366 – The cross and four squares in Rhabanus Maurus’ ‘De laudibus sancte crucis‘ (edition 1503). The tradition of a symbolic representation like the book of Rhabanus Maurus is much older: Optatianus Porphyrius wrote a so-called panegyric book around 325 AD, containing twenty-eight poems in a graphical significant representation. In: BURNIER (1987).

The tradition of a symbolic representation as given in the book of Rhabanus Maurus was much older. The exiled Roman citizen Optatianus Porphyrius wrote a so-called panegyric book (‘Carmina’) around 325 AD, containing twenty-eight poems in a graphical significant representation (LEVITAN, 1985; EDWARDS, 2005). This example was followed at the Carolingian Courtschool by Josephus Scottus and Theodulf, shortly after 800 AD. Their manuscript, comprising sixteen pages, is kept in the Burgerbibliothek at Bern (Ms. 212 II (fol. 111 – 126)(fig. 367, left).

A century later the letter- and puzzle theme was used again in the ‘Moralia  in Job’, written by Pope Gregory. The scribe Florentius added, in 945 AD, a labyrinth page (fig. 367, right) with centrally written – from top to bottom – the sentence ‘Florentius indignum memorare‘ (remember the humble Florentius).


Fig. 367 – Left: ‘Carmina figurata‘ from a manuscript of Josephus Scottus and Theodulf. Bern, Bürgerbibliothek, Ms 212, fol. 113v. Early ninth century (BRAUNFELS, 1965). Right: Labyrinth-page from the ‘Moralia in Job‘, 945 AD. (MEGGS, 1983).

The cross has always been surrounded by mystery, and the Christian interpretation incorporated those feelings. The work of GRETSERUS (1598), titled ‘De Sancta Cruce’, contained a wealth of material and sources of the symbolism of the cross. The book cannot be recommended as light entertainment, because the character pulp revealed a man of wide reading, but pulls a string on the reader to navigate through a sea of details. All aspects of the cross were discussed. ‘Non esse crucifixum in cruce commissa‘ and ‘non essa certum crucem fuisse ex quercu‘ are only two examples of the type of information, which was put forward and also included the ‘Oracula de Cruce’ and the ‘Miraculo’. There is no sign of a ‘symbolic’ treatment of the material or even a ‘numerological’ one: it concerns facts, facts and more facts, all dished up in a matter-of-fact way. The aim was probably to outdo the reader in knowledge and boost his belief in the process. A modern scholar is surprised by the lack of structure in this display of quantity. The book is a monument for factual-historic writing.

The cross was in the European culture often associated with death: every Christian cemetery is full of the symbolism of the cross (fig. 368). Apparently man visualizes in death an important final station in a history of division, which begins with the division of the cell and ends with the decomposition of the body: ashes to ashes.


Fig. 368 – The cross as an ornament. To the left a manifestation in stone, to the right in wrought ironwork.  Left: 1. Charterhouse Glandier (Raguenet); 2. modern; 3. Genouilleux (Raguenet); 4. St. Urban’s, Unterlimburg, Schwäbisch-Hall; 5. Baret, eleventh cent.; 6. Pere-Lachaise, Paris (Raguenet); 7. St. Pierre, Montrouge, Paris (Raguenet); 8. St. Lazare, Montpel lier (Raguenet); 9. Becon (Raguenet). Right: 1 – 3. Mediaeval crosses, Franconia; 4. modern (Badische Gewerbezeitung); 5. St. Ambroise, Paris. Architect Ballu (Rague net); 6 – 7. Thiengen.  In: MEYER (1892/1957).

The cross (Latin: crux) is the best-known symbol of Christian art. It is related to Christ, who died a martyr-death on the cross to redeem the world. In particular, the Judeo-Christian orientated funerary art used the cross as a reference to this event. However, it cannot be excluded that the consolation of tetradic/cyclic thinking versus the finality of duality and linearity plays a role on a deeper level.

The two aspects of the cross merge in the point of finality. For the ‘Western’ cross became the moment of ultimate truth, the right choice leading to a unity with God. The ‘Eastern’ symbolism of the cross, with its sense of equality in division, never adhered to the ‘either – or’ and interpreted finality as a natural change in a (cyclic) visibility.

The (Western) Roman Catholic Church, aware of the disadvantages of the ‘neutral’ position in a worldly power play, preferred the Latin/hierarchical interpretation (of Augustine). ‘Divide and rule’ is most effective in dualism, in an environment where opposition could be created. This antagonism could even be worshiped, like Otfrid of Weissenburg did in his ‘Evangeleinbuch‘ (c. 850). He divided the cosmos in a heaven and an abyss, symbolized by the upper and lower ends of the (Latin) cross. The message is clear: God and man, heaven and earth are seen as competitors and only the right choice between the narrow and the broad way provide salvation for mankind.

LADNER (1955, p. 94) placed the opposition in perspective by saying that ‘west’ and ‘east’ should not be taken absolute: also in the Western culture was a ‘Pythagorean’ and ‘hermetic’ magic, alchemy, and cabalistic usage as a supplement to the more common hierarchical interpretation in Christianity. He pointed to Carl JUNG (1953) and his description of the quaternary in his book ‘Psychology and Alchemy’.

A deviation of the cross is the so-called nimbus (or halo/aura): a circle (or square) around the head of a holy figure with (sometimes) a beam of rays (fig. 369/370). Its origin was the sun-symbol, which was already known in Egyptian antiquity (Isis, Apis) and the Babylonian past (SCHULTZ, 1924). It was taken over by the Greek and Roman gods (Apollo-Helios and Eos-Aurora). The Roman Empire of the first centuries worshiped Sol, Mercurius and Mithras and depicted them with a nimbus. Furthermore, the Roman emperors Claudius, Trajanus and Antoninus Pius had a nimbus. The well-known mosaic in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, dating from the sixth century, adorned Justinian and Theodora with a nimbus. Marthe COLLINET-GUERIN (1961) wrote a voluminous standard work on the nimbus. Division-scheme’s were proposed (pre-nimbe, nimbe (Base I – III) and pseudo-nimbe), but their immediate history or use is not very clear. The book furnished, despite its wealth of material, no deeper inside in the phenomena of the nimbus.


Fig. 369 – The nimbus. This symbol of a sun or aureole around the head of a divine figure or ruler carried a mythical significance associated with light- and life-giving power. The sun and the light, as vital properties, are transmitted to the person wearing the aureole. This illustration depicts the godhead Sol, and was found in the Roman settlement Corstopitum (Corbridge on Tyne, England). The place was destroyed in 297 AD, but this panel (metope) was reused in the fourth century. Museum Corbridge. Tafel CXXVI, fig. 570 in: HÖRIG & SCHWERTHEIM, (1987).


Fig. 370 – Shapes of the nimbus. 1. The empty nimbus. Psalterium, around 850 AD. Universiteitsbibliotheek, Utrecht (’s JACOB, 1987). ; 2. The round nimbus. Pancreator, Iglesia de la Clusa,  Rosellon (Spain) (COOK & RICART, 1950).; 3. The square nimbus. From a homiliarium. Monte Cassino (STEMBERGER, 1977/1979); 4. From the inside cover of the ‘Beatus of San Millan’ (WILLIAMS, 1978); 5. The hand of God, Guebwiller (Elzas). Cliche Inventaire general. Commission regionale d’Alsace (J.J. Pervieux) (DOLLINGER, 1972); 6. Moses and the square nimbus. On a fresco in the synagogue of Dura-Europos, Syria (PEARLMAN, 1974).

 LADNER(1941/1983) described, in an interesting publication, the so-called ‘square nimbus‘ as a means of expression of the quaternion-idea in the Christian belief (fig. 370-3). The square background was found on the portraits of the shrouds from the Roman period in the Egyptian history. The square nimbus was closely related with the tetradic thoughts of the Alexandrine philosophers like Philo Judaeus and Clement of Alexandria.

The motif of the square nimbus (or better: square of perfection) has also been used between the eighth and twelfth century in Europe. Probably, the introduction took place in Southern Italy (Monte Cassino). The ‘tetragonon’ was the symbol of perfection and was associated with the earthly appearance of the human mind. Plato talked in his ‘Protagoras‘ (339 A-B) of an honest man as a ‘tetragonus‘.

The name ‘Quadratus‘ was fairly common in the first centuries of the Christian world. The best-known bearer of this name was a bishop of Athens from the second century AD. Cornutus, a Stoic native of Leptis Magna, remarked in the first century AD in his book ‘De Natura Deorum’, that the square (cube) cannot fall and always remains the same.

The square was, nearly a millennium later, found in an illustration of the ‘Scivias‘ (Know the way) of Hildegard of Bingen (1151). God the father is symbolized in the fourth vision in the first book (fifth miniature) as a golden square (fig. 371). Henri BOELAARS (1986; p. 30) gave a description in his beautiful edition of the book.


Fig. 371 – The square as a representation of God the Father. From the ‘Scivias‘ of Hildegard of Bingen, around 1150. In: BOELAARS (1986).

The termination of the thirteenth century was identified (by Ladner) as a ‘renaissance of the non-circular nimbus‘. The (symbolic) use of other graphic means, like the mandorla, the square, the lozenge, the hexagon and the octagon, increased at the same time.

The examples of these specific delineations are virtually endless and the choice, as given in fig. 372, is arbitrary.


Fig. 372 – Some examples of the circle and square as graphical tools to establish an association with squareness and perfection: 1. The ceiling in the cathedral of Hildesheim (Germany). Seated king in a lozenge, surrounded by four prophets in a circle (DEUGHLER, 1970); 2. Christ in majesty. Two half-circles (or mandorla) encompass Christ on a throne, adorned with a four-fold nimbus. Limoges, end of the twelfth century (GAY, 1928/1971); 3. The throne of grace. A crucified Christ in a mandorla with the Holy Ghost as a dove and God the Father (with nimbus) Cambrai, Bibliotheque Municipale. Ms. 234, fol. 2. (PALLOTTINO, 1966, Vol. IV); 4. A symbolic window in the cathedral of Le Mans as given by Emile MÂLE (1910/1961), thirteenth century (according to Hucher).  (MÂLE, 1910/1961).

The squares on the ceiling of the cathedral of Hildesheim, the ornamentation in the Church of San Croce and the bronze doors of the Baptistery in Florence (by Andrea Pisano), in the San Francesco in Pisa, but also in the French cathedrals (Amiens, Notre Dame at Paris) are only a few illustrations of the remarkable unity of expression at the onset of the second millennium. The symbolic language represented a stage in the European cultural history, a moment in time when the power of tetradic thinking was consciously felt and looked for ways of expression.

The cognitive framework, however, had been developed much earlier. The cross, the nimbus (circle/square), the mandorla (two circle arches) and the lozenge (diamond) carried, particularly in Carolingian times, a metaphorical meaning (KESSLER, 1977), which hardly needed any explanation. This symbolism was a direct reference to the ‘tetragonus mundus‘, in which tetradic thinking was institutionalized.

Other types of symbolism were closely associated with the cross: the fruit bearing tree or ‘Lignum Vitae’, the Tree of Life as described in the book Genesis (COOK, 1975; SELBMANN, 1984/1993), the ‘Tree of Jesse’ and the ‘Scala Jacob‘ (Jacobsladder)(fig. 373).


Fig. 373 – Benedict between a Jacobs ladder and a ladder of virtues. An ‘ascensus ad coelum‘ by  ‘gradus‘ was a well-known motif in the Middle Ages and can be interpreted as a direct reference to dual-hierarchic thinking. Around 1180. Stuttgart, Würtembergische Landesbibliothek. In: ESMEIJER, (1984).

The subject of the cross will now be closed. The symbol, as the most fundamental tetradic graphic expression, is too common to deal with in full. Only the treatment of the cross by a psychiatric patient like Adolf Wölfli (1864 – 1930) warrant a book on its own (fig. 374).


Fig. 374 – Crucial imagery: ‘Wein. Fennin. Oliander. Karolina-Käller’ by Adolf Wölfli, made in a psychiatric clinic in 1914. In: SPOERRI et al. (1995).

However, a special reference to the Ph.D.-thesis of Van SCHALKWIJK (1989) should be made, because it gives a lucid insight in the historic meaning of the cross. Another book of an older date, dealing with the cross – among other signs and symbols – was written and illustrated by Andre Van VLAANDEREN (1946)(fig. 375). A selection of his material indicated the wide variety of forms (of the cross), all with their own symbolic significance.


Fig. 375 – Various forms of the cross, drawn by Van VLAANDEREN (1946): a. Ankh or Egyptian; b. Greek or eastern (crux quadrata); c. Latin; d. St. Antonis or crux (tau)(crux commissa); e. St. Andrew (rho)(crux decussata); f. Christian; g. Bourgondic; h. St. Peter; i. St. Philippus; j. Christ’s monogram; k. Russian or patriarchal (Lotharingian if the crossbeams are of equal length); l. Papal; m. Greek-orthodox; n. Crux- or Jerusalem; o. Spanish; p. Anchor; q. Clovered; r. Lily; s. Anchor; t. Holy Sepulchre; u. Spate- or dagger; v. Maltheser; w. Palm; x. Pontifical staff; y. Round cross. In: Van VLAANDEREN (1946).

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