Staff, Armenia

Staff, Armenia

Staff
Armenia
About 1700-1825
Museum no. 246:1, 2-1896

Snakes have a variety of symbolic meanings in art from evil and temptation to fertility and wisdom. This object is a pastoral staff which would once have been carried by an Armenian bishop or priest who held the degree of doctor of theology. It is formed as a double serpent to signify the wisdom of his office. A full-length staff would be approximately 1.5 metres long and end with a tau cross, like the letter T.