a silver icon of Saint George (10-11th C) in the temporary exhibition of the Kutaisi State Historical Museum

The historical museum in Kutaisi was closed for refurbishment during our visit, but they have installed a temporary display, with the most important pieces of the collection. There are lots of items from a long history, Bronze age to 19th Century, but my interest was predominantly the Medieval metal collection. In the 10th to 12th Century, Georgian gold and silver smiths reached high levels of artistic expression, especially with the chisel technique, used to create relief in the designs by hammering from the front of the metal. Most of this was used to create gold and silver icons, sometimes metal only, sometimes decorated with precious and semi-precious stones. Many of the examples in the museum come from the mountainous areas of Svaneti and Racha.

miniature bells – for funeral purposes – approx 4th C BC

Bronze Age figure

icon of Saint George, in silver and gold (10th C AD)

icon of the Archangel Michael (11th C)

a fabulous metal triptych of the Gelati Virgin (16th C)

detail of the Gelati Virgin triptych

another detail

detail of the left side panel

and the right side panel

16th C icon of Saint George with silver and gemstones

a silver and gold processional cross (16th C)

a triptych with twelve feasts, one of the famous pieces of the museum, in wood and tempera (prob. 16-18th C)

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