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Made by: Unknown

Currently in storage

About this object

The background is in a deep red velvet. In the center, set within a sunburst composed of gilt stumpwork, is a half-length figure of the Mother of God of the Sign (Znamenie) with Christ as an infant in her lap. They are identified by abbreviations of their Greek names embroidered in gold-wrapped silk thread on either side of Mary's upraised hands. Her face, the infant's face, and her hands are rendered in oil on card, while the rest of their bodies and haloes are rendered in gold- and silver-wrapped thread, stumpwork, and now badly faded blue silk thread. Outside the central sun or star motif is a circle of eleven two-winged cherubim. Their wings and haloes are in gold-wrapped thread over board and their faces are realistically painted in oil on card. In the four corners are embroidered six-winged seraphim in the same manner (and with the same faces) as the cherubim. Stylized six pointed stars in stumpwork are embroidered between the cherubim and seraphim on each side of the cloth. The cloth terminates in an unusual and distinctive border of a heavy chain stitch followed by a heavy fringe. The upper layer of the fringed is gold-wrapped thread while the under layers are in white or cream silk. The back is lined with a bright green silk that has shattered in places and reveals a blue lining material beneath.

Object name:
Made from:
Velvet -- cardboard -- silk -- gold-wrapped silk thread -- oil on card -- silver-wrapped silk thread
Made in:
Briansk, Russia
Date made:
39.4 x 44.5 cm (15 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
inscription 282733.185 282733.185 Rear, upper left corner, handwritten in black ink. Old Smithsonian Institution accession number. inscription ROSSO Upper left corner, handwritten in red/orange pen. Inscription is very faint. tag 20 Stuck or glued to upper right corner Small, rectangular stick-on tag. inscription N 1 Handwritten in ink on reverse, upper center. It is written in a nineteenth-century hand and is probably an old monastery mark. inscription 3422 Reverse, left border, handwritten in black ink. inscription Brianskago Svenskago Monastyria N 3 Reverse, handwritten across center in large letters. Written in pre-revolutionary Orthography. Perhaps indicates that this was one of a set of three altar cloths? inscription 932 Reverse, lower left corner, handwritten in ink, underlined. inscription A9258 15/2" Reverse, lower left corner, handwritten in black ink. Use of prevrevolutionary orthography suggests that this was one of the monastery's original inventory numbers. inscription 2 Reverse, upper left corner, handwritten in ink. Below old Smithsonian Institution accession numbers. inscription MP FTh IC XC Embroidered in gold thread on front. Translation, abbreviations for: Mother of God Jesus Christ
Credit line:
Gift of Madame Augusto Rosso, 1968