Matara Cross by McKeown 133816

Deanne McKeown
Deanne McKeown
"None of us perceive the world in exactly the same way. Our oneness lies in a yearning to touch and to understand. My work is an endeavor to share my thoughts and vision through form and color and relationships, hoping to charge my images with meaning which will reach across the spaces between us."
Byron McKeown
Byron McKeown
Over the years I’ve learned to appreciate excellence although I rarely achieve it. The closest I come is in the ephemeral areas of concept and integrity. But, since I believe that my next effort will be my best, I will continue to pursue excellence.
Silver Jewelry
2" x 0.75"




This cross originated in the 16th Century in the Salado River region of Argentina. It was carved in mistol, in indigenous wood, as instructed by Jesuit missionaries to serve as a means to teach illiterate converts the Passion of Christ. It measurtes 47 centimeters high; the tapered  lower vertical beam was designed to be placed on a wooden base.

The symbols on t he Matara are:


  • (1)The year, likely 1594
  • (2)the word Matara
  • (3)’A’ Alpha
  • (4)”O” Omega
  • (13) a Greek Cross


  • (8) The figure of Jesus with Halo


  • (5) sun; The primary symbol of life
  • (6) moon; Recalls that Jesus died on the full moon, the completion of Passover
  • (7) comet; which led Magi to Bethlehem
  • (11) the whips; the symbol of flagellation
  • (17) the lance that pierced Jesus
  • (12) the dice with the soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing


  • (14) the hammer that was used to pierce Jesus’ hands
  • (9) the Eucharist depicted as a chalice with two sheaves of wheat, the host, from the Last Supper
  • (18) the ladder on which His body was lowered
  • (15) the long nails of the crucifixtion, crossed
  • (10) the rooster which symbolizes Peter denying Jesus three times
  • (16) a brilliant female figure with a grown, halo, and scepter
  • (19) the Virgin Mary
  • (19) four tongues on fire
  • (20) a distorted face of a person with hands crossed which would indicate his imploring intercession of Holy Mary in order to be freed from Purgatory, which is symbolized by the tongues on fire.