This posting will be a test of just how hardcore an icon enthusiast you are (or perhaps a test of how peculiar you have really become). In any case, it is lengthy and detailed. Prepare yourself.
The Unburnt Thornbush (Neopalimaya Kupina) icon of Mary is of particular interest because it represents the very “pagan” notion that a painted icon of divine figures has the power to protect from fire. In old Russia, if a house or building burst into flame, people would stand holding this icon facing the fire in the belief that it would be extinguished. It was also hung to protect dwellings from fire. Given that wooden buildings and dwellings were very common, and fire a constant threat, it is not surprising that this “fire insurance” icon was so popular, particularly among the Old Believers.
There is much to say about this type. Its origins are a…
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