Iconoclasts always end up needing more icons than anyone else. Thus the familiar, revered image is seen everywhere in Russiaframed in classrooms and pasted on peeling walls, idealized on canvas and frozen in marble. It is almost as ubiquitous in China, where it is often carried in processions, shaped of paper or flowers, surrounded by mock dragons and popping firecrackers.
The face with its high-domed forehead and arched eyebrows seems slightly Asiatic to Western eyes; in Asia it looks Western. Both the Russians and the Chinese passionately claim it as their own. On either side...