Gospel embossment featuring St. Clement, St. Pantaleimon and scenes from Bible

Type: Plastic iconographical object: Gospel

Period: From the beginning of the 14 century to the end of the 14 century

Author: Unknown

School: Unknown

Dimmensions (cm): 33.5 / 23 / 9


Country: Bulgaria

Province: Sofia

Town: Sofia

Museum: National History Museum


Country: Macedonia

Town: Ohrid

Church: St. Clement

Object identification notes

The 14th century gospel compositions are severe, coherent and executed with an ease by a virtuoso. The masters worked manually with chisels and spools on the silver sheets. The compositions reveal the art tradition of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. That tradition was carried on in some Bulgarian centres in the 15th and 16th century and down to the Revival period. The Crucifixion in this embossment illustrates kinship to the famous emboss of master Matei from the 15th century and particularly to The Crucifixion from the Boyana Church frescoes (1259). The embossment published here illustrates the trends in official goldsmith art intended to provide for the court and the high-ranking clergy. A text of the central composition explains that Nikolai (?) embossed the gospel in the 14th century. Later inserted plaques, including St. Pantaleimon and St. Clement, differ very much from those from the 14th century in terms of technique and enamel.


The scene is the abridged iconography version. Virgin Mary and John the Divine are at the Cross. The crucified man has a graceful curve. Virgin Mary and the disciple are elongated, modelled with precision and with powerful impact. The upper part of the frame depicts The Annunciation. There follow rectangular segments with an exquisite fretwork ornament of intersecting circles; the evangelists Mark and Luke are placed symmetrically around The Crucifixion. Later plaques featuring St Pantaleimon and St Clement were added with traces of black and red enamel in them. The Nativity of Christ over dates from the same time. The evangelists Luke and Matthew again, from the 14th century, are under these, in ornamental fields with intersecting circles again. The bottom frieze of this frame depicts The Baptism and The Raising of Lazarus from the 14th century again in the two corners.

Iconographical technique: Relief

Traces of black, red enamel.

Base material: Metal

Silver with gilt.