FOUR GOSPELS, in Armenian, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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FOUR GOSPELS, in Armenian, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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FOUR GOSPELS, in Armenian, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

[Constantinople, end of seventeenth century]
105mm x 75mm. 297 leaves, gatherings, mostly of 12 leaves, numbered on first recto and final verso, two columns of 22 lines written in black ink in a borlorgir hand between four verticals ruled in red, justification: 73 x 20-5-21mm, concordance numbers in lower margins in a small fine bolorgir, rubrics, incipits, capitula lists etc in red or gold, versal initials in blue or gold uncials, ILLUMINATED CHAPTER INITIALS IN ELABORATE ZOOMORPHIC FORMS accompanied by MARGINAL DECORATIONS OF STYLISED FOLIAGE or NUMEROUS SMALL MINIATURES, the manuscript opening with EIGHT FULL-PAGE MINIATURES FROM THE LIFE OF CHRIST, followed by TEN ILLUMINATED PAGES WITH CANON TABLES between patterned columns and architrave with trees, beasts, birds etc, FOUR FULL-PAGE EVANGELIST PORTRAITS, the facing pages with FOUR ILLUMINATED HEADPIECES (Probably lacking miniatures from the prefatory cycle, and two canon tables, some rubbing, smudging or offsetting). 19th-century Russian ENGRAVED SILVER COVERS over wooden boards, the upper cover with Christ in Glory, the lower cover with the Mother of God Hodegitria, both within ovals with floral corners, the spine with Armenian inscription, unrecorded maker's Cyrillic initials PK, assaymaster Viktor Savinkov, Moscow, 1869 (lacking clasps).

PROVENANCE:
Baron Sahak and his wife Hrip'sime: inscription at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. They may have been the first owners of the manuscript.

The gift of this 'silver-covered Gospels' by Zak'aria Grigorean Rostomean to his confessor Father Grigor Ter Barsghean in memory of his relatives, living and dead, is inscribed in Armenian on the spine. The binding is dated 1869 and was assayed in Moscow.

CONTENT:
Prefatory miniatures ff.1v-8; Eusebian letter and Canon Tables ff.9-18; Contents of Gospels of Matthew ff.19-21v; Matthew ff.22v-98; Contents of Gospels of Mark ff.98v-100; Gospels of Mark ff.100v-150; Contents of the Gospel of Luke ff.150v-153; Gospel of Luke ff.153v-235; Contents of Gospel of John ff.235v-236v; Gospel of John ff.237v-297v.

ILLUMINATION:
Small, personal copies of the Gospels with an extensive series of marginal scenes from the Life of Christ were characteristic products of Constantinople. Richly illuminated in strong saturated colours combined with shining gold, the miniatures in the present book are reminiscent of the work of Gabriel of Sulu Manastir, who flourished in the final decades of the seventeenth century.

The subjects of the full-page miniatures are as follows: Annunciation f.1v; Adoration of the Magi f.2; Presentation in the Temple f.3v; Baptism of Christ f.4; Transfiguration f.5v; Raising of Lazarus f.6; Entry into Jerusalem f.7v; Last Supper f.8; St Matthew f.22v; St Mark f.100v; St Luke f.153v; St John f.237v.
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