The model of this icon of the Virgin and the Child is found in the Rabbula Gospels, an illuminated Syriac Gospel Book produced in the year 586 in the Monastery of Beth Mar Yuḥanon of Beth Zagba, some 50 km. north of Apamea, in Syria. The famous illuminated manuscript is today housed in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, in Florence Italy. At the center of the icon is the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus and standing beneath a cupola which represents an altar of the Syriac Orthodox Churches from that time. Mary’s red robe implies that she belongs to the royal lineage of David. Her blue clothing beneath the red, refers to her designation as a second heaven. The three stars symbolize her perpetual Virginity: before, during and after she gave birth to Jesus Christ. The footstool occurring mostly in depictions of Jesus Christ or Virgin Mary from the early Christianity but also in Middle Ages is a metaphor for elevated status. Finally, the Peacock is associated in Christian art with immortality. This comes from an ancient myth that the flesh of the peacock does not decay after his death.
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