Title: Greeks bearing gifts: the icon of Xaxuli and enamel diplomacy between Byzantium and Georgia
- Řekové přinášející dary : chachulská ikona a diplomacie smaltů mezi Byzancí a Gruzií
Source document: Convivium. 2016, vol. 3, iss. Supplementum, pp. 88-105
ISSN2336-3452 (print)2336-808X (online)
License: Not specified license
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The Xaxuli Triptych is the most important icon in Georgia. This paper examines the surviving fragments of the image at the center of the icon: the enamel hands and face of the Mother of God. Despite the fame of the triptych, the central icon has received relatively little attention. This paper suggests that the icon is best understood as a gift from the Byzantine emperor Basil ii to Davit' kouropalates of Tao-Klarjet'i, the southwestern region of medieval Georgia. This fits the context of the growing exchange of art and ideas between the two states in this period before Basil II's invasions of Georgia after the death of Davit' kouropalates in 1000/1001. The article concludes by suggesting that the later reworking of the icon into a triptych effectively hid its Byzantine origins and represented the icon as a Georgian work.