Lusine V. Sargsyan
The examination of the canon tables of the Gospels of 1329 (an index of the four synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which works like a concordance; usually displayed under decorated arches in vertical columns and placed at the beginning of the Gospel Books) played an important role in the works of Avag Tsaghkogh and are worthy of a separate assessment.
The study of relations with other monuments makes it possible to identify where Avag’s range of ornaments derived from. The decoration of these canon tables employed by Avag takes us to the Cilician traditions of Armenian miniature painting, which have their stable role in the ornamental paintings of Gladzor. In addition to this, the ornament of canon tables by Avag provides us with types, which are derived from the early period of Armenian decorative paintings.
In the art of canon tables of the 1329 Gospel one can also sense the master’s independent and courageous approach to the art form. Whenever he had the possibility to defer from adopted norms, he did so diligently, trying to reflect truthfully plants and surroundings (birds, pomegranate branches, flowers, etc.) as accurately, as possible. In this regard the work of Avag significantly differs from the canon tables painted by Taronetzi in 1323, which glitter with gold and paints, and create the element of surprise with imaginary sceneries and miraculous creatures.
Thus, Avag Tsaghkogh’s miraculously created canon tables with their imaginary and decorative motifs summarize and at the same time continue and develop the decoration techniques of the previous centuries. Each of the canon tables on its own is a complete piece of art.