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18th C. Russian Enameled Silver Icon - St. Michael

Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 18th century CE. An oval-shaped portable icon / pendant, the front face depicting a wonderful enamel rendering of Saint Michael the Archangel valiantly raising his sword and holding his shield in the other hand, dressed as the general of heaven's angels and protector of the Church Militant, donning regal vestments in blue and yellow with a flowing pink cape. This iconography conjures the traditional depiction of Michael and his angels waging war on the dragon, symbolizing the Christian conflict of Christ vs. the Antichrist. The inscription on the front translates to, "The Holy Archangel Michael" in abbreviated form. On the verso is an inscription in black calligraphic pre-revolutionary orthography on a white ground that translates to, "Image of the Holy Archangel Michael". All is set in a silver frame with a suspension loop above. Size: 3.375" L x 2.5" W (8.6 cm x 6.4 cm)

As Chief Commander of the Heavenly hosts, Saint Michael bravely challenged the Devil. Satan, after all, was Michael's opponent in the battle for Heaven. The figures' gestures and motion are characteristically dramatic. Archangels are understood to be helpers and allies who offer dedicated protection through life's trials and travails. Their names usually end in the suffix "ael" or "iel" meaning “Shining One” in Hebrew, e.g. Miguel, Rafael, Gabriel, Ariel, Ezekiel, Barachiel, Uriel, etc.

Condition: Front face shows three stable hairline fissures. Verso shows pressure cracks and some losses as shown. Silver frame shows expected tarnish and minor denting.

Provenance: private Czechoslovakia collection, acquired before 1980

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