ARMENIAN PRAYERBOOK [AOT 'AGIRK'], ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Eastern Turkey, second half of the 16th century]
154 x 105mm., 218 leaves including 3 blanks + 4 twelfth century vellum leaves at beginning and end, signatures for first 9 quires, collation: 1-512, 614, 712 [8 omitted], 912 (9/7 cancelled), 10-1812 (15/5 cancelled), 198, 206 (last 2 blank), COMPLETE, modern foliation, vertical rules in red, justification 105 x 63mm., 18/19 lines, written in black ink in a regular bolorgir hand, rubrics and initials in red, initials and marginal decoration for sections in colours in figurative, bird and foliate decoration, 8 FULL-PAGE MINIATURES, 6 DECORATED HEAD PIECES and 5 SMALL PANELS marking the beginnings of major sections (decoration rubbed throughout).
Contemporary blindstamped goatskin over wooden boards, ties (lacking clasps), red silk liners (split in spine), upper cover decorated with two 18th century silver crosses, the smaller inscribed 'The Cross is in memory of Sar [Armenian era] 1220 [AD 1771]'; the larger cross with 5 stones 'This cross is in memory of Yovanes and his wife Arek'haz from Baberd at the door of the Holy Church of St. John', and two hands as amulets. Lower cover has a plain cross and decoration.
The manuscript has no colophon. The scribes and original owner is Ter Grigor whose name is inserted at the conclusion of prayers on folios 122a, 123a, 161b, 177a and 202a. The manuscript was probably copied in Babert [or Bayburt] a city close to Karin in Eastern Turkey, which had four churches, one of them named St. John, where is was kept.
CONTENTS (using modern foliation).
f.2a-91a. Prayers to Grigor Narekatsi, Moses K'ert'ol, Ephraim the Syrian, Johannes Chrysostom; f.92a-109b. Extracts from the Gospel of St. Matthew; f.110a-123a. Prayers and a Poem; f.124a-137b. Extracts from the Gospel of St. Mark; f.138a-155b. Prayers to Christ, against Demons, natural disasters, of the Holy Cross, of the Holy Apostle; f.156-157b. Gospel of St. Mark V: 33-43; f.157a-161b. Various other prayers; f.163a-170a. Extracts from the Gospel of St. Luke; f.171a-183b. Prayers to Grigor vardapet, Grigor Natekatsi, Saint Sisianos; f.185a-192a. Extracts from the Gospel of St. John; f.192b-214b. various prayers. The 12th century flyleaves contain the Gospel of Mark V: 20-35 (front) and V: 6-20 (back).
The 8 full-page miniatures comprise:
1v. Saint Grigor Narekatsi standing
91v. Matthew writing
152v. St. Paul standing
162v. Luke (somewhat defective)
170v. Virgin and Child
184v. St. John and Angel
202v. Archangel Gabriel
Headpieces of foliate decoration on ff. 2, 92, 124, 163, 171, 185. The headpieces at the beginnings of the Gospels include the symbols of the Evangelists in form of large decorated capitals.