On the right lower part of the west wall of the narthex, next to the western door, Saint Anna and her benefactress, Anna Lahana, are depicted. Saint Anna was incorporated in several iconographic programs in churches in Cyprus, either included in the Mariological cycle as the mother of Virgin Mary or portrayed with her husband, Joachim. Nonetheless, Anna was seldom portrayed on her own. In Cyprus, only at Asinou and the church of Saint Mamas at Luvaras, dated to 1495, she is represented isolated.
The two female figures are portrayed in a rectangular panel with a dark blue background. Saint Anna is painted holding a cross, even though she did not die as a martyr. It appears that by the Middle Byzantine period, painters attributed to her the cross and the red-coloured maphorion.
Saint Anna was not only the selection of her homonymous donor, expressing her piety, but was also in line with the salvific iconographic program of the narthex of Asinou. Specifically, despite her relation to fertility and giving birth, Anna as the mother of Virgin was worshipped for her contribution to the incarnation of Christ and therefore as a key character for the salvation of humankind.
Anna Lahana, the donor of the portrait, is represented in a smaller scale with raised hands towards her patron saint in gesture of pleading. The accompanying inscription reads: 'Prayer of the servant of God Anna of Lahanas'. Anna wears a white long dress, tighter on the upper part, with long sleeves. Red and black geometrical patterns decorate the cuffs and the collar of her dress imitating woven garments. In addition, a long black mantle covers her from the top of the head and is loosely adhered by two red ribbons fastened on red patches. A white headdress wraps her hair and neck and is decorated with woven parallel red bands.
Donor Anna wears garments that reflect the local clothing tradition and production. Anastasia Saramalina’s garment has the same ribbons which are attached to rectangular patches on the cloth and hold loosely the mantle. Anna’s headdress is also worn in the same way by a deceased woman in the church of the Holy Cross at Pelendri. This is aligned with the late medieval directive according to which contemporary fabrics could be depicted in lay and religious scenes. Lastly, regarding the thriving weaving craft in Cyprus at that time, the type of embroidered ornaments of Anna’s garments seem to be a prosperous local production which has been maintained until today, especially in the village of Fyti. For this, the name of these textiles is fythkiotika.


Alternative Title:



Digital Heritage Research Lab of Cyprus University of Technology


Digital Heritage Research Lab of Cyprus University of Technology

Contributor :

Digital Heritage Research Lab of Cyprus University of Technology





Item Identification:



Απαγορεύεται η δημοσίευση ή αναπαραγωγή, ηλεκτρονική ή άλλη χωρίς τη γραπτή συγκατάθεση του δημιουργού.


Ioannides, Marinos, “Saint Anna,” Αψίδα, accessed October 14, 2019, https://apsida.cut.ac.cy/items/show/45314.