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Plaque with the Virgin
Plaque with St. Mark the Evangelist

12th century

Cold, cloisonne

3.8 x 3 cm, 4.5 x 2.9 cm

These cloisonne plaques formed part of princely diadems, an important part of the royal headdress. Such diadems consisted of several plaques attached to each other, and traditionally bore representations of Christ (the principal figure), the Evangelists and saints and various ornamentation.

The plaque with the Virgin was part of a diadem with the composition traditionally found in the Deesis tier of a church iconostasis (altar or rood screen). This showed Christ in the centre with the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist to either side of him, interceding on behalf of sinners. These extremely rare examples of the early applied art of ancient Rus reveal the great skill of the Russian craftsmen who made them.

 

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