In an earlier posting, I briefly mentioned the cast metal four-part folding icons commonly called “irons,” because their shape when closed is similar to that of an old metal flatiron — the kind one had to heat on a stove to use. You will find that earlier posting here:
Today we shall look a bit more closely at this very popular form of Old Believer metal icon, which may be found both with (as here) and without added colored enamel.
Here is an example:
It includes icon types of major Church festivals, as well as the commemoration of four “wonderworking” icons of Mary.
If we look more closely, we can identify the scenes in each of the four panels:
The top image is the Crucifixion (Raspyatie), with a tiny image of the “Not Made by Hands” image of Jesus just above the cross.
The upper left image is the Annunciation (Blagovyeshchenie) to Mary.
The upper right image is the Birth (Rozhestvo) of Jesus.
The lower left image is the Birth (Rozhestvo) of the Mother of God (Mary).
The lower right image is the Entry (Vvedenie) of the Mother of God into the Temple.
At top is the New Testament Trinity, with the inscription, “He Ascended into Heaven and Sits at the Right Hand of the Father.”
Left: The Meeting (Sretenie) of Jesus in the Temple.
Right: The Theophany (Bogoyavlenie), that is the Baptism of Jesus
Lower Left: The Transfiguration (Preobrazhenie) of Jesus.
Lower Right: The Entry (Vkhod) of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Top: The Elevation (Vozdvizhenie) of the Cross.
Left: The Descent (Sozhestvie) to Hades (Resurrection (Voskresenie) of Jesus).
Right: The Ascension (Voznesenie) of Jesus.
Lower Left: The Old Testament Trinity (Troitsa); in some examples this is replaced by the Descent (Sozhestvie) of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost).
Lower Right: The Dormition (Uspenie) of Mary.
Top: The Praise (Pokhvala) of the Mother of God.
Below that come four scenes of Poklonenie (Veneration) of Wonderworking icons of Mary:
Left: The “Tikhvin” icon with saints Maksim and Vasiliy (Maxim and Basil) Fools for Christ’s Sake, etc.
Right: The “Vladimir” icon with saints Aleksandr Svirskiy and Kirill Byelozerskiy, etc.
Lower left: The “Smolensk” icon with saints Antoniy and Feodosiy Pecherskiy, etc.
Lower right: The “Sign” icon with saints Antoniy Rimlyanin and Leontiy Rostovskiy, etc.
On the reverse side of such icons, one often finds a “Golgotha Cross,” which is discussed — as are the icons of major Church festivals and the individual Marian icons — in previous postings that may be found in the archives here through the “search” function on this site.
In Russian terminology, a “folding” icon — whether a diptych (two-panel), triptych (three-panel), quadriptych (four-panel) or simply several-panel (polyptych) form — is called a складень/skladen’.