Iconic portrayals of the Mother of God, traditionally seen cradling the Christ child, are a staple of iconographic art. The maphorion she wears is adorned with three golden stars — one on the forehead and one on each shoulder. These stars are symbolic of her preserved virginity prior to, during, and post childbirth.
The Deesis, or supplicatory prayer theme, is largely influenced by eastern Marian legends. These narratives depict the Mother of God and John the Baptist beseeching mercy for all of humanity from the Judge of the World during the Final Judgment. This theme is a central element of the Templon or Iconostasis, the boundary defining the sanctuary in a church.
The first instances of the Deesis can be traced back to the mid-1st century. However, it wasn’t until the conclusion of the period of iconoclasm, or image controversy, that the subject fully evolved and took its current form. Since then, it has gained significant traction and popularity across the Christian East, making it a recurring and widespread theme in iconography.