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Calling all artists, art historians, wood carvers, anyone who knows sculpture

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Please, please have a look at this sculpture:




I need to analyse it, interpret the artist's intent


What is azure and flat fretwork?


I have done a lot of research online but what I get is very minimal and doesn't tell me what those dragon-tail like things mean or what the "stars" are. It doesn't help that the images I am finding of the object are not very clear.


I would REALLY appreciate your educated (or not) input.



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If you do some searching using Rila Cross as an alternate spelling, interesting stuff comes up.


It was carved by a monk in Bulgaria over a 12 year time frame with needles, after completion, he went blind. Apparently a famous piece in a monastery there. There has to be entire books written about it.


Rafail's Cross is a famous wooden crucifix at Rila Monastery in Bulgaria.


The crucifix is a wooden cross made from a whole piece of wood (81 х 43 cm). It was whittled down by a monk named Rafail using fine burins and magnifying lenses to recreate 104 religious scenes and 650 miniature figures. Work on this piece of art lasted not less than 12 years before it was completed in 1802, when the monk lost his sight.

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