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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, UNITED STATES

The Four Gospels, in Armenian
ARMENIA (HAVUTS TAR MONASTERY), DATED 1471
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
22

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, UNITED STATES

The Four Gospels, in Armenian
ARMENIA (HAVUTS TAR MONASTERY), DATED 1471
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 30,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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The Four Gospels, in Armenian
ARMENIA (HAVUTS TAR MONASTERY), DATED 1471
4to (185 x 140mm.), manuscript on paper, 293+3(blank) leaves, preceded and followed by two vellum flyleaves (see below), apparently COMPLETE in 25 quires of 12 leaves each, with one leaf cancelled in quire xii, quire signatures throughout, prickings survive in all three margins, written in 2 columns of 19 lines, headings in two colours, illustrated with four full-page Evangelist portraits (ff.2v, 87v, 138v, 226v) each facing an elaborately decorated incipit page with head-piece, historiated initial, and borders, chapters throughout with large initials often formed of birds, angels, saints, or other figures, somewhat dirty and the edges of the leaves somewhat worn and soft, but generally in good condition, Armenian binding of polished leather over wooden boards, upper cover tooled to form a stepped cross composed of small braided tools, lower cover tooled to form a rectangle, with ten metal fittings on front cover (some with lettering, "Gulamir, Horomsiny", "Etar", "Horomsimay", "Mkhitar", some later in date, several missing, and lacking all fittings on lower cover), integral foredge flap tooled with the date 1086 (i.e. 1637 CE), two long straps, front flyleaves are a fragment of a 12th-century Armenian manuscript on vellum in erkat’agir (containing part of an Armenian Lectionary), the rear flyleaves from another Armenian manuscript, plain cloth board liners (also lining the foredge flap)
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Catalogue Note

Provenance

(1) There are two colophons: the first records that the book was written and decorated by Stephanos "abegha" (monk) at the monastery of Havuts Tar, in the year 920 of the Armenian Era (i.e. 1471 CE), bound by Yovhannes "abegha", monk, and that it was owned by Stephanos, a priest; (2) the second (written by Martiros "yerets") mentions the acquisition of the manuscript by Murad in 1121 (1672 CE). (3) Boisgirard-Antonini, Paris, Arts d’Orient, 14 February 2002, lot 291 (with description loosely inserted).

Binding

The use of binding waste was generally deliberate in Armenian bindings, to show the continuation of book production. The cloth board liners are a typical feature of Armenian bindings, which help distinguish them from Byzantine bindings. The cross on the upper cover represents the Crucifixion, whereas the rectangle on the lower cover represents the oblong of Christ's empty tomb.

We are grateful for the assistance of Gevorg Ter-Vardanean in the description of this book.

Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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London