14th Century icon of John de Baptist in the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography

One of the benefits of the touristic development of Mestia is the upgrade of the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography, which since 2013 is housed in a modern, purpose-built construction. Six exhibition halls on the first floor provide room for the excellent collection of the museum, from archeological finds going back to the Bronze Age to the ethnographic compilation with the pots and pans, but also the chainmail, saddles, jewelry etc. from the last four centuries. In between is the collection of 10th to 14th C icons, both painted and in gilted silver, comparable, but more divers, perhaps, than the collection in the Kutaisi Museum.

Definitely worth a visit, if in the neighbourhood! Otherwise you will need to do with a few photos. Of my favourites.

over view of several Colchian bronze figures

another bronze miniature, in incredible detail

icon ‘Assembly of the Archangels’, wood and tempera, from 12th-13th C

icon of Saint George, wood and tempera, 13th C

extraordinary stylish image: an icon of the Crucifixion, made somewhere 11th-13th C

one of the treasures of the museum, ’40 Sebastian Martyrs’, 12th C

icon ‘Saintly Warriors George and Theodore’, wood and silver, 13th C

‘Archangel Gabriel’, wood and gilt silver, 11th C, made by a Master called Tavdidisdze

‘Saint Barbara’, gilt silver from the 11th C

front of an icon of ‘Archangel Michael’, wood, gilt silver, gems, 13th C

and the back of the same, richly decorated

several altar crosses, and painted icons

a 13th C altar cross, from wood, sheet gold, silver, pearl, gems, mountain crystal, and tempera

and this is a dtail of the same, a tiny little painting

the museum has a chainmail, probbly not even that old!

and a woden saddle, with leather straps

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