Friday, July 17, 2020

Indiana Jones and the Cross of Coronado

In this article, we are looking at The Cross of Coronado from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

If you're new here, I cover film, sci-fi, horror, action-adventure, and the historical genres as well as props and cosplay.

The Cross of Coronado is an artifact that only appears in the first scenes of the 1989 George Lucas produced, and Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster.

Far more importantly, the cross helps to establish the mindsets of Father and Son in the early days and how their stories or motivations have changed over the next 30 years.

Indiana, an altruistic teen, looking out for the public good who believes that historical artifacts should be shared with the world and not in the hands of the private collectors.  Indy later turns somewhat mercenary. So, by 1935, we find Jones willing to sell the ashes of Emperor Nurhaci to crime boss Lao Che for diamonds to eventually moving closer to wanting more than material objects to something somewhat spiritual as he does in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  
It also shows how Jones's succumb to their obsessions and tend to lose themselves to them.  

The Cross of Coronado does all this within the first half of the first act of the film.

The year is 1912, Somewhere in the southwest desert, Indiana Jones is a teenaged boy scout. His troop is out for some cave exploring. 

However, Indy and his friend have left the scouts behind to go exploring on their own.

 They enter a cave only to find that there are treasure hunters already in the cave.   

One man dressed in a leather jacket and a brown fedora. He could pass for Indiana Jones from a distance. He and his gang have just come across a 400-year-old artifact --  The Cross of Coronado.  Indy tells his friend that this is the cross that Cortez, the conqueror of Mexico gave to Coronado in 1512/  And it belongs in a museum.\

He sends his friend back to get the sheriff to do what ... I don't know after a long-drawn-out chase on a train that is transporting a circus to their next town.  The gang, lead by the man in the leather jacket and the fedora chase him towards the back of the train where he finally gets off and escapes the railroad and runs back to the house where he and his widower father live.\

It is revealed that Jones Sr. was intent on his passion project as he writes in his diary.  The Grail Diary. Moments later, his friend from the boy scouts whom he sent to get the sheriff arrives blowing his trumpet to announce his arrival.  The sheriff walks in with the treasure hunting gang behind him. 

Do you still have it? The sheriff asks Indy.  Indy gives it to the sheriff, who tells him that it was reported stolen earlier that day. Roscoe, the bowery kid, runs out to give the cross to a man in a white Panama hat. 

The man in the leather jacket and brown fedora takes off his hat and places it on the young Indiana Jone's head and tells him. "You lost today, but you don't have to like it. Next thing you know, we are out in the middle ocean in the midst of a storm. 

Indy looks up just in time to get a punch in the face.  We can see the man with the white Panama hat come down from the bridge area to the main deck to reclaim his cross.  Indy tells him that the cross belongs in a museum ---- again. 

The sailors go to throw Indy into the raging sea and leave him to drown.  But of course, he escapes their clutches as the boat is thrown from side to side. Indy goes after the man in the Panama hat as he climbs a set of stairs.  Indy grabs him, and the Panama hat man loses the cross, and as it is about to slide off the deck, Indy grabs it. Indy still has a fight on his hands. As he is fighting, cargo is starting to break free. Once again, Indy breaks away and climbs to the top of some crates and grabs a cargo line and swings out over the ocean and into the sea. In the meantime, knocking over several large oil drums that catch on fire and crash onto the deck. 

Indy lands in the water as the cargo ship, the Coronado sinks into the deep.

Back at the college where he teaches, professor Jones is finishing a class when Marcus Brody arrives. Indy concludes the sale of the cross to the National Museum, where Marcus is the curator.  And that is the last we hear or see of the Cross of Coronado.\

The Amazon seller where I got this piece is the  Costumebase,

Now, this piece of art is made of a metal alloy, plated, and comes with a 3 feet long gold chain which is attached with a  gold plated jump ring. Now this Cross measures 8"x 6" (21cm x 15.5cm) and is 3/4" (2 cm) thick and has 12 artificial pearls & 4 artificial aqua gems. Now, the makers used a sketch from  "Lost Journal of Indiana Jones" for the back inscription.

The Cross of Coronado was a jewel-encrusted golden crucifix with a chain. It was believed to contain a piece of the real cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján was born in 1510 and died in 1554. He served as the Spanish Governor of the Kingdom of Nueva Galicia. He was also an explorer and conquistador who, in 1540, based on an overly embellished report by Friar Marcos de Niza, who was the first European in what is now the State of Arizona.

Fray Marcos de Niza at the age of 44 in 1439 traveled north from Mexico to Arizona and up to Hopi and Navajo area and over through the present-day New Mexico over to the Zuni peoples saw the city of Cibola one of the Seven Cities of Gold.

In 1540, reports brought back from explorations made by the shipwrecked explorers Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and confirmed by missionary de Niza convinced Viceroy Mendoza of the presence of vast riches to the north, located in the so-called Seven Golden Cities of Cíbola.

Reaching the area in question, Vasquez de Coronado found simple pueblos but no gold.  Not wanting to call the expedition a failure -- the conquistador pushed on to Kansas, and the Texas panhandle in search of another fool's errand based on the rumor passed on to him by a native they called the Turk to a wealthy civilization called Quivira.

During his expedition from time to time, he would get into fights with the native American peoples and would slaughter many.  Upon ending the voyage and returning to Nueva Galicia, he was eventually brought up on charges of war crimes but was absolved.

Many on the internet ask the question, is the Cross of Coronado real.  The answer is no. Coronado did not go to Utah but bypassed it into New Mexico, According to Indy fandom the cross was given to him by Hernan Cortez have the cross to him in 1521. However, Vasques do Coronado was only 11 at the time and still in Spain.

That being said, the cross may have been based on the cross of Emperor Justin, the second, Eastern Emperor of Rome. The cross, called "Crux Vaticana," or the Vatican cross was given to the people of Rome by the Emperor sometime around 568 or 569 AD.

Costume Base