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KAREN MATEVOSYAN’S BOOK "THE EPIGRAPHIC INSCRIPTIONS AND COLOPHONS OF NORAVANK MONASTERY" IS PUBLISHED

  Karen Matevosyan, "The Epigraphic Inscriptions and Colophons of Noravank Monastery", "Mougni" Publishers, Yerevan, 2017, 244 pages, editor: PhD Arsen Harutyunyan

  Head of the Art History Department of Matenadaran, Doctor of Historical Sciences Karen Matevosyan’s book "The Epigraphic Inscriptions and Colophons of Noravank Monastery" is published.
  The Noravank Monastery located in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia was the residence of the Syunik Metropolitan bishops and also the mausoleum of the powerful Orbelian House of Princes in the late 13th century and is remarkable for its history and rich cultural heritage as a great center of arts and architecture.
Sedrak Barkhudaryan, the issuer of the 3rd volume of the "Armenian Lithography Corps" (1967) included 136 lithographs of Noravank. In later years, Suren Saghumyan, Michael E. Stone and Karen Matevosyan replenished Noravank's lithographs. In this book 236 lithographs are included.
All the manuscripts’ colophons written in Noravank are published, each provided with a brief study. The Noravank lithographs and colophons complement each other with the information they contain and are of interest in historical, cultural as well as in linguistic terms.
  The book's research section represents the issues of Noravank’s history, which still remain studied insufficiently. It clarifies the confusion of the monastery’s oldest churches St. Karapet and St. Stephanos, which can be seen in numerous publications. The question why the prince Smbat Orbelian was called “Սմբատ արքա” ("King Smbat") in some lithographs is discussed. In fact, it is the appellation “Arkaun”, by which the Möngke Khan of Mongolia addressed Prince Smbat, when the latter went to Karakorum in 1251 and 1256 (the Mongols called the Christians “Arkaun”: the word sounds like the Armenian word արքա [arka] - king).
The constructions of Noravank by the architects Siranes and Momik are discussed and some issues are clarified in the book. Particularly, it turns out that Siranes, in addition to the St. Grigor Church (1275), earlier built also the Gavit (the distinctive Armenian style of narthex) of the monastery. Here, it is confirmed that the construction of Noravank’s Holy Mother of God Church began in 1318, while Momik was still alive, and ended in 1339 (after his death in 1333). The analysis of the lithographs of the famous reliefs in the Gavit  provides further evidences that the author of the reliefs is Momik.
  The relief of an eagle snatching its pray (which so far was considered the Orbelian dynasty’s coat of arms), located at the eastern facade of the Holy Mother of God Church in Noravank, is studied.  Yet, there are such reliefs in churches built by a number of other ruling families. It turns out that there are similar reliefs on the later tombstones (16-18th centuries). Through the study of a fragment in the Gospel and its medieval interpretation, as well as the research of the preserved reliefs, it is concluded that these images (including the ones in Noravank) have no heraldic meaning, but rather are symbols of the Salvation, where the eagle symbolizes the angel and the prey symbolizes the decedent expecting salvation in the time of the second coming of Christ.
  The publication of the book was sponsored by Ms. Anna Djirdjirian (USA).

“Matenadaran”
 Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts named after Mesrop Mashtots




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