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18th C. Russian Composite Icon w/ 11 Brass Icons

Eastern Europe, Russia, dated 1767 CE on the verso. A composite icon comprised of eleven cast brass icon panels with white and dark blue enamel background, set in a hand-carved wooden frame. The piece features Mary in the center in an unusual pose of gesturing toward a scroll, the writing on which is difficult to decipher surrounded by various scenes from the life of Christ and the life of Mary, as well as Old Testament scenes in low relief. The square icon panels depict (starting from upper left and going down): Presentation in the Temple, Entry into Jerusalem, Hospitality of Abraham, Intercession, Dormition of the Virgin, Raising of Lazarus, Transfiguration, and Baptism. The overall shape of the ensemble of inset icons conjures imagery of the famous onion domes of Russian Orthodox churches. The left onion dome appears to depict the Trinity, with God and Christ on either side of the Holy Spirit above, and the right onion dome depicts the Exaltation of the Cross. Size: 10.875" L x 9.125" W (27.6 cm x 23.2 cm)

Icons served as an easily transportable method for traveling priests to teach the stories that made up the foundation of Orthodox Christianity. Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these 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 such they are truly "windows into heaven."

Condition: Wood frame shows surface wear and losses. The passage on the tablet/scroll Mary holds is difficult to decipher, but the imagery is relatively legible and much enamel remains.

Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection acquired in The Dominican Republic over 20 years ago

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