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102121 | RUSSIA & GERMANY. Our Mother of Perpetual Help enameled silver Icon.

  • Details

    102121  |  RUSSIA & GERMANY. Our Mother of Perpetual Help enameled silver "Madonna" Taler. Created circa late 19th century (41mm, 26.60 g, 12h).


    Representation of the famous icon, engraved and then enameled: Virgin Mary in colorful cloak, composed of blue (for motherhood) and red (for virginity), with head and eyes facing the viewer (her children on earth); the star on the top of her cloak indicates that she is the one who will lead us to Christ; she holds the Infant Christ, whose head is uplifted and looking off at a distance, with more adult-like features as a symbol of wisdom beyond His years; His green tunic symbolizes His humanity and creation, while the red sash around His waist symbolizes the Blood of Christ shed for our salvation, and the gold cloak is symbolic of the Resurrection; together, the colors of the garments are a statement of the Incarnation, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ; His falling sandal informs us that He became human like us in all things but sin; showing his heel is from the promise of God in Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel;” around the Virgin Mary are small representations of the Archangels Michael (holding a lance, a pole with a sponge, and a vessel of vinegar; these prefigure scenes from Jesus’s crucifixion) and Gabriel (holding a cross and nails; these prefigure scenes from Jesus’s crucifixion); all four figures are identified with liturgical Greek abbreviations: MP ΘУ (for the Virgin Mary), OP M and OP Γ (for the Archangels Michael and Gabriel), and IC XC (for Jesus Christ) / Reverse of a 1754 Taler from the Electorate of Bayern (Bavaria) in the name of Maximilian III Joseph: crowned Madonna seated facing among the clouds, holding scepter and Holy Infant. Edge: Floral pattern.


    Cf. Davenport 1952; cf. KM 500.2. Host coin: Extremely Fine. Deeply toned. Enameling: About Uncirculated. Very vibrant and unbroken, and expertly rendered. Pin back attached to reverse. An extremely rare, impressive, and wearable icon in miniature form.


    Associated with a 15th century Byzantine icon with an alleged Marian apparition, Our Mother of Perpetual Help is believed to have originated at the Keras Kardiotissas Monastery (Μονή Κεράς Καρδιώτισσας) in Crete, and has since been in Rome from 1499. It was canonically coronated in 1866 by Pius IX, and has since become one of the most popular icons within Roman Catholicism. Here, it has been expertly rendered, likely rather contemporaneously with the icon's coronation, on the obverse of the prior century's "Madonna Taler" from Bayern (Bavaria), with the fields smoothed, a light engraving created, and highly colorful enameling employed in order to evoke all of the hidden meaning throughout this heavily iconographic piece.


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