Epigonation depicting The Descent into Hell

Type: Plastic iconographical object: Epigonation

Period: From the beginning of the 17 century to the end of the 17 century

Author: Unknown

Dimmensions (cm): 32.5 / 31.5


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Sofia

Town: Sofia

Museum: National History Museum


Country: Bulgaria

Other source: Others

Object identification notes

The subdued tones and the ability to harmonize them prove that the artist had a flair for tone. The severe grace and stylish beauty and the fact that the donor was from Constantinople ascribe this work to the Constantinopolitan circle.


The epigonation contains several tiers of embroidered frames, which shape a round medallion in the middle. Colorful silk threads and bullion depict The Descent into Hell. The outermost frieze of this frame is bullion embroidery depicting a geometric pattern and there follows a text in an edge, which is also bullion embroidery. The inner field, between four seraphim in the four corners, contains another loose inscription. The scene depicts the descent of Jesus Christ into Hell where he brought back to life his ancestors, Adam and Eve. The round field of the composition is given to the conventional iconography. Perfect sense of measure is demonstrated by the arrangement of the crenellated rocks in pale-blue, gray, green and dark ochre that artistically follow the round form of the medallion. The exquisite embroidery is in soft tones of which azure, pale yellow, white and ochre prevail and produces a picture which is profuse in halftones. The composition is cohesive and severe. The figures are loose and the postures are dynamic. The dynamic figure of Jesus Christ who bends gently over Adam and blesses him is depicted with artistic ease and prominence.

Iconographical technique: Bullion embroidery

Base material: Textiles

Silk, satin