LESHCHEVA YA.I. The “Whirling Disk” in the Byzantine Iconography. Search for Meaning

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2014.3.4

Leshcheva Yana Igorevna

Postgraduate Student,

Volgograd State University

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Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

Abstract. Τhe article studies the plot of «whirling disk», as an example of light symbolics of the Byzantine iconography of the 11-14th centuries. The author brings up the existing hypotheses of interpretations of this phenomenon and analyzes theological sources which serve as the basis for conclusion about possible symbolic value of this iconographic plot. The author studies the specific iconographic monuments of Cappadocia, Sinai, Thessalonica, Serbia. The analysis of disks’ images allows to make the following supervision: disks were often represented in the most important places of temple space and significant iconographic plots; disks had various art execution and color scheme; the form of disk and idea of whirling were common for all examples. When the disk consists of three segments, it makes sense to assume this trinity, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. The form of a rotating or shining disk, especially on the Sinai monuments where gold color is the main and form-building element of a luminescence suggests symbolical parallels with a solar disk especially as both in the Scriptus, and in theological works the sun is the image of God or sanctity and good fortune granted by Him. The following assumption of symbolics of rotating or shining disks is consolidated to understanding them as Divine energy. Considering all possible options, the most convincing assumption, from our point of view, is that understanding of rotating disks as Divine energy it has rather serious theological justification in the developed orthodox doctrine about Divine light and energies.

Key words: Byzantium, iconography, whirling disk, symbolics of light.

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