Icon with Scenes from the Life of Christ
Ottoman Palestine, Jerusalem or Bethlehem (Israeli; Palestinian)
DateLate 19th century
Mediummother of pearl, gilt copper
DimensionsWork : 13 1/8 x 12 x 2 3/4 in. (33.34 x 30.48 x 6.99 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton in memory of George Tietse
LabelThis carved shell icon featuring scenes from the life of Jesus Christ was likely made in Bethlehem or Jerusalem during the last few decades of the 19th century. Such shell icons were highly prized as souvenirs by European pilgrims to the Holy Land at that time. The declining power of the Ottoman Empire meant that it was once again relatively safe for European Christians to visit the places where Christ and his disciples had lived. The English-language inscriptions on this icon’s bronze display case suggest that it may originally have been acquired by a British or American traveler.