Nine Vinica Fortress terracotta icons to be exhibited at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum

Nine medieval terracotta icons from Vinica Fortress will be part of a major exhibition of the Museum of Art and Archaeology Ashmolean at the University of Oxford next year. Presentation is one of the activities of cooperation between this British Museum and Ministry of Culture wherefore Paul Roberts, programme manager of Ashmolean and Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska signed Monday memorandum in Skopje.

The exhibition titled “Religions in Large Empires” will open on Oct. 2017 and will run until Jan. 2018. Archaeological Museum of Macedonia will be responsible for Vinica’s terracotta icons presentation at the event.

Roberts underlined that the exhibition will present the growth of great religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

I am glad that besides Great Brittan and France, Macedonia will also be included in presentation of different religions and periods thus brining nine wonderful terracotta icons from the site near Vinica. They will be very important part of the exhibition because they will illustrate the moment when art of the Christianity becomes solid and crystallizes. You have many museums in Skopje and throughout Macedonia possessing great wealth for which people in Great Britain are not acquaint with at the moment. However after the exhibition next year they will become acquainted, Roberts said.

During his stay in Macedonia Roberts visited several museums and Skupi and Stobi archaeological sites. He pointed out that the after the exhibition next year also other opportunities for cooperation with museums of Macedonia as well as conference, exhibitions, exchange visits will be accomplished.

Kancevska-Milevska said that the memorandum will contribute Macedonian museums to have fruitful cooperation. She said that Ashmolean was founded in 1683 is the world’s oldest public museum with incredibly rich and diverse collections ranging from Egyptian mummies to Pre-Raphaelite paintings to contemporary art.

It is of great importance that nine valuable terracotta icons will be presented at major exhibition. They are summarized messages on earliest Christian beliefs, accompanied by a Latin inscription carved in high relief. They describe scenes and characters including concise theological message. The most frequent topics presented at the icons are of the Old and New Testaments, illustrated psalms, christological notions and representations of Christian saints, Kancevska-Milevska said.

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