We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Italian Renaissance Learning Resources - The National Gallery of Art

Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Mandylion of Edessa

Term for a miraculous image (untraced) of Christ, believed to date from the 1st century AD. It is one of a number of holy images ‘not made by human hands’ whose origins are obscured in legends of the early Christian East. In the late 6th century the image was first mentioned as a miraculous icon. The fully developed 8th-century version of the legend relates how King Abgar V (reg 4 BC–AD 50) of Edessa (now Urfa in Turkey) commanded a portrait to be made of Christ but received instead a cloth miraculously imprinted with Christ’s features (see [not available online]). The image became known as the Holy Mandylion (Arab. mandil: ‘small cloth’).

Sarah Morgan