The serpentine-amulet is cut from bloody jasper. It has a round shape, it is bilateral, with carved (intaglio) images and inscriptions. Along the edge an inscription was carved in two lines.
On one side there is an image of a female head with six twisting snakes diverging in a star-like shape. Six stars are between them on the background. On the other side an image of sitting Seven Sleepers of Ephesus is, next to each of them a bag, hung on a stick and a carved name is: "АNТОNНNО МАРТНNОС ЕЗАКVСТУЛНАN МАЗIМНЛIАIN ДIОNVСНОС НАМВЛНХЪ IОАNЪ" (Antoninus, Martinian, Eksacustodianus, Maximilian, Dionysius, Iamblichus (Constantine) and John).
The serpentine-amulet "Seven sleepers of Ephesus" belonged to Maria Shvarnovna (died around 1206), the daughter of the Czech Prince, the first wife of the Grand Duke of Vladimir-Suzdal Vsevolod-Dimitry Yurievich the Big Nest (1154-1212). She was the mother of all Prince's children: four daughters and eight sons, hence the Prince's nickname.
On one side along the edge in two lines the inscription is carved: "+ ГН ПЪМЪЗН РАЬ (ОМАТВ)ОНМА NAPЬЧЬNЪМА ВЪ СВАТМЬЕ ХРЬЩЬNНН МАРНН + Н ХРЬСТНNЕ ВЪ МНР (ЕЖ)Ь МНОСЛАВНЕ СЪ СТАРЕНШЬ СО ДЪЧЕРН СО АМНNЬ". СО АМYNЬ".
On another side along the edge in two lines the inscription is carved: "+ ГН НСУСЪ КРЬСТЬ ДАВЪЕ СЪNЪ :З: ОТРОКЪ ВЪ СОЕСЬСКЕЕ ГОРЬ ЛАЖЬН. МА РАБЪМА СВОНМА + ГЬОРЬГНЕО ХРЕСТНNЕ СЪNЪ ЖНВОЪТЬNЪЕ Н МНРЬNЪЕ Н VГАСНСН(УОГ) ЪNЬNVЕО АМНNЬ".
It is generally recognized that serpentine-amulets have been considered to be protection-talismans since ancient times. The image of a snake had many meanings. In the Old Testament, it was correlated with the devil; a snake nest in ancient Slavic mythology was associated with the pagan goddess of the earth. Many researchers saw in these depicted snakes the head of the Gorgon Medusa, who since antiquity had a protective function. Serpentine-amulets came to Russia from Byzantium and that explains the Greek language of texts, spells and prayers often found on serpentine-amulets. Amulets of Russian work not only combined the remnants of ancient mythology, Christian beliefs and pagan ideas, but also processed a certain way of development and transformed. As a result, for a craftsman of the late XII – early XIII century only the Christian content of the image was undoubted.
Serpentine-amulets were mainly made of copper, gold and its alloys. Stone serpentine-amulets are extremely rare. They belonged mainly to representatives of Grand and Royal families. Thus, in the collection of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a gold-framed jasper trapezoidal serpentine-amulet with the image of the Savior on the one side and the snake nest-on the other, which belonged to the tragically died son of Ivan the Terrible the heir to the throne Ivan.
On the front side of a serpentine-amulet, whatever form it had, more often the mother of God, Archangel Michael, Theodore Stratelates, Theodore of Amasea, scenes of Baptism and Crucifixion are depicted. According to the majority of experts, the female face with 6-7-10 or 12 snakes was the personification of powers hostile to a man, defeated by the mother of God, the Savior and Christian Saints. Serpentine-amulets in Russia were out of use in the XIV century, when on holy pictures and chest icons Christian symbolism had been established.
The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos was built in 1192-1195 by Grand Duke Vsevolod Yurievich the Big Nest. It was located on the territory of the Convent of Nativity of Theotokos that was founded in 1191 and until the end of the XVI century was considered to be the first among ancient monasteries of Rus’. From the middle of the XIII century to 1323 – the residence of Russian metropolitans.