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Early Christian stamps

Between the 5th and late 8th century, the stamps’ design began to reflect their use in the Byzantine ritual to stamp the eulogia bread and the bread for the Holy Eucharist. The stamps were made out of stone, clay, metal and, less frequently, wood. The main face was rectangular or circular. The symbol of the cross was carved into its centre, the four pairs of letters IC-XC/NI-KA inscribed between the arms. They had handles, which could come in various shapes: pyramids, crosses, buttons, spheres, cylinders and rings. Some had symbols around their sides (herringbone pattern, asterisks), along with a mounting hole.