This depiction of Mary and Jesus known as the Hodegetria - translated as "She Who Points the Way" - is purportedly the earliest style of icon to exist. Attributed to Saint Luke the Apostle and brought to prominence by the wife of Emperor Theodosius II in the early 5th Century, the Hodegetria includes a half-length portrait of Mary with a young Christ in her arms. She gestures to Jesus with her right hand, indicating that He is the salvation of the world. This particular image breaks from tradition with the delicate intricacy of its vestments and detailed halos. Keeping with other conventions, however, Mary has the three traditional "stars" on her shoulders and forhead, and Jesus holds a globus cruciger - and orb and cross - in His hands, symbolizing His supremacy and stewardship over the world.
Icon measures 11.25" (length) x 8.5" (width). Hand painted in the Byzantine style by an artist from Palestine.