The Mandylion

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reference number: RI_133

19th century

tempera on wooden panel in silver-gilt oklad

53.3 x 45 cm


maker’s mark: Cyrillic initials I.Tsh. of an unidentified maker

assay mark of Moscow, 1885

silver standard: 84 zolotnik

A large finely painted icon of the Holy Face or the Mandylion (small cloth or towel in Greek) with six family saints on the borders, encased in a chased and repoussé silver-gilt oklad. 


The icon depicts two angels holding a cloth with the face of Jesus Christ on it. It copies an original, miraculous ‘not made by human hands’ prototype, which was imprinted on a cloth after Christ wiped His face with it. In Christian tradition, this image is believed to be the first icon. The relict was thus kept in Edessa(now Urfa, in Turkey), and became known as “The Image of Edessa”.

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