Nestorian Cross Hat Badge

Sino-Mongolian (Mongolian)
Circa 14th century
Work : 5/8 x 2 1/8 x 2 1/8 in. (1.59 x 5.4 x 5.4 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Chris and Risa Engle in honor of Maiya and Leah
Object Number

Nestorian Christianity was introduced into Mongolia by Central Asian missionaries sometime around the 7th century CE and spread slowly throughout the country over a period of several hundred years, gradually winning converts among the geographically dispersed Mongol tribes. After Chinggis Khan united the Mongols and conquered much of Asia in the 13th century, Christianity was recognized within the new Mongol empire as an officially sanctioned religion, along with Shamanism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Islam. Many Mongolian Christians were particularly impressed by the stories of Jesus’s healing miracles and regarded Christ as a potent protector against injury, illness and death. As symbols of Christ, crosses like these were worn by Mongolian Christians during the 13th and 14th centuries not only as emblems of their faith, but also as talismans to provide protection and bring good luck. The swastika on this hat badge is an ancient sun symbol that was used to signify beneficent power in many cultures and religions around the world before it was appropriated by the Nazis in the 20th century.

Academic Themes
Christianity in Asia