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Russia, ca. 19th century CE. A beautiful Mother of God icon finely delineated in egg tempera and fitted with a beautiful silver oklad with assay marks and hallmarks on the lower end. In Greek terms, this composition is called a Theotokos, a favorite theme of the Eastern Church that refers to the Virgin Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ. Russian versions modeled upon Byzantine examples received their Russian names from names of monasteries, towns where they appeared, and countries where they originated. Size: 3.5" L x 2.875" W (8.9 cm x 7.3 cm)
The silver oklad was assayed at 84 in St. Petersberg by "AW1890" (unknown 19th century assayer). The maker is denoted as AC (also unknown).
This icon most likely was kept in someone’s home. According to Jeanne Marie Warzeski, scholar and curator of the North Carolina Museum of History's "Windows into Heaven" exhibition, "In the early Byzantine Empire, the home became the primary base for the development of icon veneration. Throughout the ensuing centuries, icons continued to receive honor in homes and churches. To this day, many Orthodox Christians create for prayer and meditation in their home a krasny ugol, or “beautiful corner,” where family icons are placed. Guests entering a house customarily honor the icons in the corner by crossing themselves before the objects. An oil lamp is set near the icons and is lit daily, according to Orthodox tradition."
Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As a focus for prayers and meditation for believers, icons serve as “windows into heaven.”
Provenance: Ex-Francis & Lilly Robicsek Collection, Charlotte, NC
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