The shape of this crucifix is known as a Latin Cross Bottony. The Latin cross is one in which the base stem is longer than the other three arms. In heraldic terminology, cross bottony means that the arms terminate with three rounded lobes, or trefoils, at each end.
In this cross, the trefoil is formed by a teardrop-shaped terminus above the head of a winged putto. Frequently depicted in religious and secular Renaissance and Baroque art, the putto was a naked boy-child, often with wings, that represented a figure that moved between heavenly and earthly realms. Today, we are most familiar with the putto as cupid.
One side of the crucifix depicts a plaque with the letters “INRI” at an angle over the haloed head of Christ with arms and feet outstretched on the cross. Three rays extend downward from the nails in Christ’s hands and feet.
The opposite side depicts the Immaculate Conception. Two angels fly toward one another on the crossbar, holding a crown between them. The crown is held over the figure of a praying Mary kneeling on a crescent moon. A Greek cross, or cross with arms of equal measurements, is depicted on the top vertical arm.
This crucifix was recovered not far from a religious medallion depicting Christ carrying the cross one one side (03671-JR, see below). It is possible that this crucifix and that medallion were once worn together as part of the same rosary.