Archive for the ‘illuminations’ Tag

The beginning of Mark’s Gospel in an Armenian manuscript from Istanbul   1 comment

A large collection of Armenian manuscripts was digitized by HMML and is available for study. Edward Mathews, Jr., is now cataloging these manuscripts, and he has recently finished the particular collection called Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul, Patriarch’s Collection (APIP); his records will be available online in their entirety in the near future. Below is an image from APIP 33, an undated but later copy of the Gospels in Armenian; the book is incomplete and breaks off near the end of Mark. Here is the beginning of that Gospel, with a painting of the Evangelist (there is also a painting of Matthew earlier in the volume), a nice zoomorphic Ս, and other usual features of Armenian manuscript decoration.

APIP 33, pp. 169-170

Künzle’s edition (see below) for this part of the Gospel reads as follows:

Awetaran ǝst Markosi
Skizbn awetarani YI K’I orpēs ew greal ē yĒsayi margarēs. Ahawasik es aṙak’em zhreštak im aṙaǰi k’o or handerjesc’ē zčanaparh k’o aṙaǰi k’o.

The text in APIP 33 differs from Künzle’s ed. in some minor points, including the presence of որդւոյ այ՟ “son of God” (cf. the Peshitta, and see also the apparatus criticus of the Greek text); the accusative marker on ըզհրե{ե}շտակ in the manuscript also includes a written preposed helping vowel.

Bibliography
Künzle, Beda O. L’Évangile arménien ancien / Das altarmenische Evangelium. 2 vols. Bern, 1984.
For further bibliography on the Bible in Armenian, see R. Thomson, A Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to 1500 AD (Turnhout, 1995), 239-249.

On artwork in Armenian manuscripts, see this (very selective) list:
Buchhausen, Heide, and Helmut Buchhausen. 1976. Die illuminierten Armenischen Handschriften Der Mechitaristen-Congregation in Wien. Vienna.
Izmailova, T. 1986. Miniature arménienne, Hovhannes Sandoghkavanetsi. Erevan.
Janashian, Mesrop. 1966. Armenian Miniature Painting of the Monastic Library of San-Lazzaro, Venice. Venice.
———.1970. Armenian Miniature Paintings. Trans. Bernard Grebanier. Venice.
Mathews, Thomas F., and Alice Taylor. 2001. The Armenian Gospels of Gladzor: The Life of Christ Illuminated. Los Angeles.
Mathews, Thomas F., and Roger S. Wieck, eds. 1994. Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. New York.
Der Nersessian, S. 1933. “La Peinture Arménienne Au VIIe Siècle Et Les Miniatures De l’Évangile d’Etchmiadzin.” In Actes Du XIIe Congrès International D’études Byzantines, Ochrid, 10-16 Septembre, 1961, 3:49–57. Belgrade.
———. 1993. Miniature Painting in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from the Twelfth to the Fourteenth Century. Washington, DC.
Nersessian, V. 1987. Armenian Illuminated Gospel-Books. London.
Der Nesessian, Sirarpie, and Arpag Mekhitarian. 1986. Armenian Miniatures from Isfahan. Brussels.
Weitzmann, Kurt. 1933. Die Armenische Buchmalerei Des 10. Und Beginnenden 11. Jahrhunderts. Istanbuler Forschungen 4. Bamberg.

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A decorated Gospel book from Gunda Gunde   7 comments

Manuscripts in Gǝʿǝz from Gunda Gunde (ጉንደ፡ጉንዴ) in the Tigray region of Ethiopia were photographed in 2006* and they are available for study on-site at HMML or for copies to be ordered. Unlike the lion’s share of HMML’s Ethiopian collection, which is on bitonal microfilm, the copies of Gunda Gunde manuscripts were born digital, like the rest of the collections photographed post-2003 by HMML. While full color obviously makes everything for manuscript study better (paleography, codicology), any artwork that manuscripts may have is rendered especially more strikingly than in microfilm. I am the furthest thing from an art historian, but I would nevertheless like to share a few images from a 15th/16th century Gospel book from Gunda Gunde (no. 440/C₃-IV-5). (By all means, any comments on these images from art historians or artistically interested codicologists are welcome!)

First, here are some of the Eusebian canons, similar in design to those of other language traditions.

Gunda Gunde 440, ff. 9v-10r

The interlocking strands of color are worth a close-up.

Gunda Gunde 440, f. 10r detail

Now here is Matthew the evangelist. Similar paintings precede the other three Gospels. Note his scribal instruments.

Gunda Gunde 440, f. 13v

Finally from this manuscript, here are the apostles Matthias and Thomas, then Paul and James, the brother of Jesus, and on the next page, as it says, “Image[s] of our holy prophet fathers” (śǝʿlä abäwinä qǝddusan näbiyyat) Enoch “the learned” (or “scribe,” ṣäḥafi), Isaac, Abraham, and Jacob, with the four on the bottom being Job “the righteous” (ṣadǝq), Moses “the archprophet” (liqä näbiyyat), Aaron “the priest” (kahǝn; note the censer), and Joshua “the chief” (sǝfun).

Gunda Gunde 440, ff. 15v-16r

I close with a fine description of the Gunda Gunde style of manuscript painting: “It introduced squat figures with extremely simplified bodies hidden under stylised garments in bright colours covered by geometrical, patchwork pattern. Their pear-formed heads with concave faces have characteristic elongated eyes, upward triangular eyebrows and small mouths.” (E. Balicka-Witakowska in Enc. Aeth. 2, 920).

In the next post I hope to show and discuss another decorated Ethiopian manuscript (one with a little more text) from a different monastery. For now, feast your mind on these bright juxtaposed colors!

Bibliography

Beylot, Robert, and Ewa Balicka-Witakowska. “Gundä Gunde.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 2. Wiesbaden, 2005. 917-921.

Marx, Annegret, Ewa Balicka-Witakowska, Marilyn E. Heldman. “Painting.” In Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 4. Wiesbaden, 2010. 90-101.

*The project was handled by Michael Gervers and Ewa Balicka-Witakowska. Thanks to Wayne Torborg, HMML’s digital director, for touching up these photos for me.

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