|2.9 × 1.9 cm
Many crosses in the history of Christian art show rays of light emanating from the center. Even though the cross was a dark symbol of Roman execution, the cross of Jesus showed the depths of God’s sacrificial love for us in taking upon Himself the sins of the world and defeating death through the resurrection. To quote the famous hymn In the Cross of Christ I Glory of John Bowring:
In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o’er the wrecks of time;
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.
The making of jewellery and decorative items from Mother of Pearl is perhaps Bethlehem’s oldest and most established industry. The practice supposedly came to Bethlehem in the 15th century with the arrival of Franciscan friars. Locals soon mastered the art and made a modest living selling handmade items to the many pilgrims who streamed into Bethlehem.
Traditionally, the sea shells and abalone were brought in from the Port of Aqaba on the Red Sea but now they are imported from Australia, California, New Zealand, and Brazil. Palestinian Christians, particularly the Zoughbi family in Bethlehem, have often received international recognition for their mastery of this art form.
The history of Mother of Pearl carving in Palestine was featured in published in the May 2007 issue of .