Church doors

Type: Plastic iconographical object: Church doors

Period: From the beginning of the 13 century to the end of the 13 century

Author: Unknown

School: Unknown

Dimmensions (cm): 175 / 88


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Sofia

Town: Sofia

Museum: National History Museum


Country: Bulgaria

Other source: Others

Object identification notes

The discussed monument is a textbook example of Orthodox Balkan art. The door of the Ohrid church has extremely nice wood-carving and can compare mostly to the chest from Teracina, a work of Romanesque Period Western art with characteristic teratological style and decoration of the plates which were made for their own sake and mounted additionally to the door frame. The relief is reminiscent of the Coptic Antiquity and the substance recalls the metal-working of bronze doors from Italy and medieval Europe and even the famous Suzdal relief. Centaurs, lions and griffins exhibit the characteristics of Romanesque art and teratological style and the manner of the composition leads to the culture of Syria and Asia Minor.


When closed the door brings in one four high horizontal friezes with four figures each and placed into rectangular medallions. The profiled frames have been additionally mounted. Two other smaller tiers with relief lie between the second and third and between the third and fourth friezes. They feature an eagle, birds, beasts that clutch prey between their jaws, an echidna and small human figures. The big elongated plates contain four rows of horsemen two by two. From top to bottom these are: St George and St Demetrius; St Theodore Tyron and St Theodore Stratilates; Mercury and Procopius. The bottom section under them is given to a centaur and a horseman with a spear who tramples upon a dragon. All horses stand on their hind legs. A tree next to the centaur obeys all the rules of right perspective; a female figure stands below. Another of the big rectangular plates features a flying bird with a twig in its bill, a sitting monkey, a dog barking at a beast lying under a tree, a jumping marten and asps with intertwining necks.

Iconographical technique: Carving

Base material: Wood