Pair of epimanikia with the Annunciation, 18th century

3 November 2011

Dimensions: edges: 18.5 cm., 29 cm., length: 18.5 cm.

The centre of each cuff is occupied by one of the two figures of the Annunciation in an elliptical floral frame. The central scene is compressed so that area around it can accommodate eight prophets, those who prophesied the scene in the centre to which they serve as witnesses (see the Root of Jesse). Their forms are entwined in the curves of a blossoming branch, with tulips and roses, which springs from the base of the cuff. The two figures in the main scene are shown in front of the walls of a city, both standing. The archangel looks to the right, stretching out his right hand in greeting towards the Blessed Virgin; he wears a cloak and tunic. Opposite him, the Virgin Mary, wrapped in her maphorion*, holds a spindle in her right hand – she normally holds it in her left and holds her right in a gesture of supplication, with her head bowed in humility.

The cuffs are embroidered on red silk in silver thread and cantille. The stitches used are karfoto, straight and oblique riza on the garments, and oblique riza and cantille on the blossoming branches.

A comparison in terms of iconography and technique with similar works by Evsevia (1723) and the nun Agatha (1730) leads us to the conclusion that these epimanakia are the product of a Constantinople workshop38.