Cast in lead, this bent Maltese cross is missing one arm. A Maltese cross is an eight-pointed cross comprised of four inward-pointing arrows that meet in the middle. This example displays low-relief raised lines paralleling the outer edges. Its unfinished edges and still-attached sprue from the casting process indicates it was unfinished and inexpensive. Because it is missing an attachment, it apparently was not worn as a badge or hung around the neck. Instead, it may have been carried as a token or talisman.
The eight-pointed cross style was used in the 16th century by the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order most known for its actions during the Crusades. The very pointed shape seen on this artifact was prominently worn by Wenceslaus, Archduke of Austria and Grand Prior of the Order of Malta in a portrait dated 1577, thus the shape became known as a Maltese cross. The Order of Malta is a branch of the Knights Hospitaller, which still retains members today.