Russian Icon of The Burning Bush Mother of God | 3589


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19th century, Central Russia. Egg tempera and gesso on wood. Two splints in the back, one is missing.

Size: 30.6 x 26 cm (12 1/8 x 10 1/4 in)

This icon depicts the Mother of God in a circle set in a four-pointed blue star upon a red star. She hold the Christ Child on her left arm, and in her right is a ladder ( a symbol of Mary in the Akathist Canon). In the four points of the red star are the symbols of the Four Evangelists: The winged man of Mathew, the eagle of Mark, the ox of Luke, and the Lion of John. In the blue star and in the petals against which the blue and red stars are set, angels are depicted which represent virtues and element powers, with the accompanying inscriptions. In the upper left corner Moses sees the bush which burns but is not consumed. At upper right is Seraph purifies Isaiah's lips with a coal taken from the altar. At lower left Ezekiel seeing the closed door to the East. At lower right Jacob dreams of the ladder reaching to heaven. All of these scenes are considered Old Testament prefigurations of the Mother of God and her role in the Incarnation.

This type of icon was an early form of fire protection. It was used not only to ward off fire from a home but also was held up to stop the fire once it had begun. This icon celebrated on September 4th.