A sure way to impress someone with your knowledge of icons is to throw in a few Russian terms. Of course first you have to find someone likely to be impressed by your knowledge, and that is very difficult, because the vast majority of humans are incredibly bored by icons, and will suddenly say, while you are talking, “Oh, I forgot; I have to see someone about something. Goodbye.” And they will rush away as fast as they can.
Nonetheless, Iconoholics persist in learning more and more about icons, and I, being an enabler, will give you yet another term to add to your vocabulary for frightening off prospective boyfriends or girlfriends.
You already (I hope) know what a skladen is. A skladen (складень) is a folding icon, usually cast metal, like this Deisis example, with Jesus in the center, Mary at left, and John the Forerunner (the Baptist) at right:
A skladen can be a diptych (two panels), a triptych (three panels,), a quadriptych (four panels), etc.
Now here is a new term to add to your vocabulary. Look at this icon:
As you can see, it is a triptych — a folding icon with three panels. But if you want to be very specific, and more descriptive than the usual English term, you would call this a skladen-kuzov (складень-кузов ).
A skladen-kuzov differs from a usual skladen in that it has an icon inset — like the one above, protected by a little frame. So it functions as a kind of kiot — an icon case– but in folding form. Kuzov means here a kind of frame.
Now as you see, the main icon in this skladen-kuzov is an example of the Strastnaya type — the “Mother of God of the Passion,” and in the western Roman Catholic form it is generally called “Our Lady of Perpetual Help.”
Just above that is an image of the “New Testament Trinity” in Deisis form. What does that mean? Well, it is the usual image of Jesus and Lord Sabaoth (God the Father) seated on their throne in heaven, with the Holy Spirit as a dove with them. It is made a Deisis form by the addition of Mary at left and John the Baptist at right, approaching the throne with requests on behalf of humanity.
At the tops of the left and right wings we see the Archangel Gabriel at left and Mary at right, together forming the “Annunciation” type.
Below that in the left panel are a “Descent into Hades” (Resurrection) type, and a “Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ” type.
In the right wing below Mary is a “Transfiguration” type, and below that the “Dormition.”
So now, next time you are in a conversation with a newly-met prospect of the gender you prefer, you can ask if they would like to see your skladen-kuzov — and then watch them suddenly remember a previous appointment.