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19th C. Russian 4-Panel Enameled Bronze Traveling Icon

Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. early 19th century CE. A bronze travelling icon that when open presents four panels, each one divided into quadrants with an onion dome upper section. The iconography includes 20 scenes from the Life of Christ and the Life of Mary in low relief and further embellished with dark blue and white enamel. The exterior is decorated with a large Cross surrounded by meticulously delineated scrolled details on the front panel. Size: 14.625" W x 6.25" H (37.1 cm x 15.9 cm) when open; 4" W (10.2 cm) when closed.

In order to support traveling priests on missions, bronze and brass religious objects were made that were small enough and light enough to be carried on long journeys through a difficult landscape. These became widespread in Russia in the 17th century, and are often mentioned in the 19th century writings of Pushkin and Chekhov.

Condition: Some losses to enamel but much remains. Normal surface wear and tarnish commensurate with age, but imagery is fairly vivid. Hinges work well.

Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection

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