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The Woman and the Dragon (Bamberg) Icon - F306


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Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple ... A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son (Rev. 11:19; 12:1-5).

A woman appears in the sky, known as the Woman Clothed with the Sun or the Woman of the Apocalypse. She is facing forwards, is wearing a purple robe richly adorned with decorative borders, and she stands on the crescent moon. Her blond hair is shown in thick strands and is tied up at the top in a classical bow. The sun appears as a halo behind her head, in the form of a twelve-spoked wheel of rays, with pearls (stars) at the end of each ray. The woman is drawing her newborn boy towards her and stretching out her left arm to protect him from the winged dragon. Affixed to the dragon's neck are six small heads, each with ten horns. To indicate the significance of this vision as a symbol of the church (as well as a symbol of the Virgin Mary), there is a church in the background, with the Ark of the Covenant in its open doorway.

From the 11th century Bamberg Apocalypse.

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