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Made by: Unknown

Currently in storage

About this object

A pelena is a decorated cloth which is often hung beneath icons as an adornment. This cloth illustrates the lavish needlework that characterizes the finest examples of such cloths. It uses couching, an embroidery technique that permits various effects, such as ripples and zig zags. The cloth is bordered with an inscription in Church Slavonic that reads: "Keep us in they virtue, a living sacrifice, O creator of the world." These cloths are all bordered with inscriptions in Church Slavonic taken from the Psalms and Orthodox prayers. Some (center) have specific associations with Church holy days, such as the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God celebrated in October.

In the center of the piece is a 10.5 inch x 10.5 inch square of deep red silk serving as the background for an image of the Cross of Golgotha rendered in complex embroidery. The Cross itself is in a couching stitch that resembles basketweave, but is made from evenly securing the gold thread with an ungilded, yellowish thread. The inscriptions are rendered in a tight satin stitch. The mountain over the skull of Adam and the ends of the lance and sponge are in a ??? stitch. Framing the central image is a three-dimensional stitch something like a basket weave. In each of the four corners are embroidered a seraphim with wings of gold-wrapped silk thread. Their faces, like the skull of Adam beneath the cross, is rendered in plain silk threads of beige and black. On each of the four sides are inscriptions in Church Slavonic in a viaz' script. e spear, the sponge and the skull of Golgotha and abbreviated inscriptions in old Slavonic. The back is lined with a faded blue silk.On the reverse: Top left: Small cloth label 6 p 82 7769 SЪЕII (?) П 122 р 7/р П182 609 x 60 С 1979 2 60, 40 3 м 50

Object name:
Made from:
Silk embroidered with gold-wrapped thread (central panel); silk embroidered with silver- and gold-wrapped silk thread -- lined with cotton
Made in:
Date made:
17th c.
43.5 x 42.5 cm (17 1/8 x 16 3/4 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
tag UNIVERSITY 2810/E & E/ART/SHOP/621 Grove St. EVANSTOWN, ILL. On the back of the frame containing this embroidery. This is a beige tag with blue background. This was removed 6-25-01 when embroidery was removed from frame. This was from the shop that framed the piece. inscription 66 7769 [Cyrillic] ch ch .7 r Written in purple ink on white twill sewn to reverse, UL These seem to be inventory numbers and are repeated below. inscription [Cyrillic] P132 [crossed out] [Cyrillic] P 375 6? x 60 6r 60 C19792 50 3 sht [Cyrillic] Written in purple ink on blue silk backing, UL These appear to be inventory numbers (P375, S19792), a price of 6 rubles 60 kopecks (6r 60), and an indication that this piece is one of a set of three (3 sht[uck], or pieces). inscription TsR' SLVy Embroidered on either side of top bar of cross. Tsar' Slavy Note: Inscription is in Church Slavonic. inscription IC XC Embroidered on either side of top bar of cross. Iusus Christos inscription NI KA Embroidered on either side, below central bar of cross. NIKA Note: Inscription is in Church Slavonic. inscription KOPIE Embroidered next to lance. Trans: Lance In Church Slavonic lettering. inscription TROsT' Embroidered next to sponge. Trans: Sponge In Church Slavonic lettering. inscription ML [in Church Slavonic] Embroidered on either side of the base of the cross. The initials stand for Mesto Lobnoe, or Place of Skulls, a literal translation of the Semitic 'Golgotha.' inscription RB Embroidered on either side of the hill below the cross. Rai byst' inscription AG Embroidered above the hill in which skull is buried. The initials stand for Adama Glava, or 'skull of Adam.' inscription Left “Keep us in thy virtue, a living sacrifice, O creator of the world.” periphery front In Church Slavonic
Credit line:
Gift of Madame Augusto Rosso, 1970