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Mosaic Icon with the Dormition of the Virgin
Monastery of Chora (Kariye Camii), Constantinople, 1313–20
As a metaphor of human salvation, the Dormition is frequently represented above the door on the western wall of Byzantine churches, as seen here. The distinguishing feature of this scene is that Marys soul is sitting on Christs arm, turning toward a bishop. The latter (left) reads Psalm 118, which was traditionally recited in the office of the dead. This iconographic feature, which appeared sometime in the early Palaiologan period, further emphasized the funerary aspect of the scene.