Category Archives: CULTURE


And its connections with the art of Hakob Jughayetsi

Emma L. Chookaszian
Orlando Carlo Calumeno’s archive, located in Istanbul, Turkey, is known for the largest collection of Ottoman postcards and panoramas in the world. The Armenian medieval manuscripts are an important part of this private collection and our study is dedicated to one of them. Kept in Istanbul’s “Birzamanlar” gallery owned by O. C. Calumeno, this manuscript is distinguished by its simple yet very important illustrations, that we are going to reveal. The manuscript is a Four Gospels and its dimensions are 16 x 22 x 9cm.


Dedicated to the Memory of Leonardo da Vinci


Shushanik G. Zohrabyan-Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Arts
The theme of the composition, the search of his own ways in art are quite clearly expressed in the oeuvre of jeweller, engraver Ara Ghazaryan. Ara Ghazaryan’s art is in touch with the Armenian and fine arts in general. This is where the vivid imagination, simplicity and immediacy of his worldview originate. When starting a new artwork, he elaborates on the sketch, finding the appropriate silhouette and layout, achieving a complete acquistion of form and content.

Such is the composition entitled “Temple” (2019), which is distinguished by its artistic features and technical qualities, whose unique form of composition derives from its content. It consists of 108 pieces, made of 18 and 22-carrat gold and silver “Argentium”. Armenian apricot wood has also been used. The height of the “Temple” is 108 mm and the width is 45 mm. Ara Ghazaryan has performed the artistic processing of his artwork by enameling, using partitioning, relief and ornamental methods. The four sides and the top of the dome are crowned with red rubies and three rows with 18 encrusted diamonds in each row, represented in Ghazaryan’s favourite shapes, octagonal and round. The dome also has 18 windows. The harmonious choice of colors is made with the relations of red, blue, green, and gold.

Ara Ghazaryan’s worldview is reflected not only in his creative expressions and means, but also in their significance and application. Ghazaryan has covered the temple with glass, and placed a microscope under the dome, which allows you to see the smallest chessboard in the world. His own creation, included in the Guinness Book of World Records (2017; 6.5 gram, 15.3×15.3 mm dimensions) made of 18K white and yellow gold and Brazilian cherry wood. The biggest of the chess pieces are the King and the Queen (each 4.8 mm, with diamond removable crowns), and the smallest are the soldiers (2.3 mm each). Four more diamonds lie at the base of the chess board.

Ara Ghazaryan has placed the “Temple” in a hand, drawn in the shape of a unique ornament and graphically delineated with fine lines of Mount Ararat (made of silver “Argentium” and placed on lapis lazuli stone), which has become a unique pedestal for the “Temple”.

He made what is considered to be the most complex and technically very variable part of the human body. Ara Ghazaryan delivers a powerful message to the viewer. The hand is not here just as the main tool of creation, but also as an important focus of representation, which has an esthetic and symbolic contents. The power in the hand is the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy. For Ara this is the Hand which creates miracles since the beginning of human history and gives it to civilizations. We can also say that with this Hand Ara Ghazaryan also pays tribute to Leonardo da Vinci.

The thematic-compositional artworks are the vivid expressions of the clear thinking, style, artistic language of Ara Ghazaryan. Each of his created item becomes a miracle of handmade work, not just an object, but also a spirit or character that has an amazing emotional impact on the viewer.


On the materials of the collections by Komitas and Mihran Toumajan


Hripsime V. Pikichyan-Candidate of Sciences in History
The article discusses the ceremonies described and notated in the collections of Komitas and Mihran Toumajan, Komitas’s adherent. Songs and dances, performed at the ceremony of decorating of the groom (the so-called Takvoragovk, Թագվորագովք, praising of the king), and the bride (the so-called Tsakhkots, Ծաղկոց) that includes bathing, henna ceremony, dressing, headdress, greeting, visiting the shrine, dowry praising and introducing the bride into the community, and subsequent farewell to the parental home and crossing the threshold. They are combined with musical, poetic and dance texts that are indispensable components of the wedding ceremony. It is to be singled out that like other rites passages, these ritual sequences begin with ritual purification. They end with the introducing the newlyweds to the higher cosmic forces/to the Most High and to the community.

The ritual events associated with the transformation of the groom and the bride are repeated and affirmed at the three main levels of the wedding ceremony with certain modifications. The first represents the introduction of the newlyweds to the community after the decorating, praising and greeting in order to gain the community’s blessing. The second is the church wedding ceremony while symbolizing the introduction of the king and the queen to the Creator, to receipt His blessing. The third takes place at dawn, when the newlyweds appear before the rising Sun to receipt its blessing.

At the semantic, symbolic, musical and poetic levels of the Tagvoragovk – the king – the first man – the cosmic tree – the cosmogonic order is emphasized. Meanwhile, in the ceremony of Tsakhkots such interpretation is not as definite. Accordingly, the ceremony of initiation of the groom-king involves the largest number of participants: all family members, male and female relatives, and proxi could participate at various ceremonies. As for the ceremonies associated with the bride, they were more limited; heterogeneity and a large number of participants are unusual for them (the participants are the godfather’s wife, the governess, the priest’s wife, and the female friends). The participation of men was prohibited, with the exception of the henna ceremony.

The cosmogonic roots of the rituals symbolizing the transfiguration of the bride and the groom mark various allegories and concepts found in their musical and poetic texts, associated with the interrelations between the cosmic models and elements (the sun and the moon and the stars, the day and the night, floral and fruit symbols/codes). This is also true regarding the distinctive topics of those ceremonies, as well as the characteristic question and answer structure resembling that of riddles (songs performed during shaving, dressing, the erection of the wedding tree, as well as describing the participants of the ceremony) and the performance style (a group-soloist dialogue). In the praising of the groom recorded by both Komitas and Toumajan, the influence of certain formal structures characteristic of epic and sacred songs is noticeable. This influence is available in “man – professional musical culture” interconnection, along with “woman – folk song – nature” associations which correlates with the existing in traditional culture ideas about the functions and roles of men and women.

One of the components of the traditional wedding in different provinces of historical Armenia was the visiting ancestor’s graves by the groom-king, the groomsmen, the godfather, the priest, and the musicians. In this way, the worship ancestors (existing in the traditional Armenian culture) was reaffirmed along with the idea of patrilineal continuity of the household. Meanwhile, the visit of the bride-queen and her female friends to the nearest sanctuary must be regarded within the context of the traditional approach to a woman’s role and her responsibility in maintaining the Christian life in the new family.

It may be stated that the rituals of the transfiguration of the groom-king and the bride-queen recorded by Komitas and Toumajan are very valuable not only in the terms of documenting and analyzing of the Armenian musical heritage, but also as a model, which demonstrates the function and the role of a man and a woman in traditional culture and in the mythological perception of the creation of the world.


Emma L. Chookaszian
After his victory against the Ottoman Empire in 1604, Shah Abbas forced the Armenians of the region to migrate to his new capital, Isfahan. The Armenians prospered here quickly, establishing churches, schools, and monasteries. Traders, carpenters, metal craftsmen, and miniaturists played a very important role among the immigrants. As a result, Isfahan became a refuge for miniaturists from different provinces of historic Armenia, each bringing with them the stylistically recognizable traditions of their local school that were going to be further developed and refined on the new land.


A comparative analysis of the situation in 1918-1925

Gurgen V. Vardanyan
At the end of May 1918 the Declaration of the Republic of Armenia (RA) opened a new page in the history of the Armenian school. During two years of existence of RA the democratic changes in the sphere of education were aimed at the creation of the new national-state educational system. After the establishment of the Soviet power in Armenia C(B)PA did not continue educational reforms. Moreover, it followed a new policy of consistent adoption and realization of the legal acts and resolutions. Mostly they were directed towards the denationalized school system’s creation which would correspond to the new regime. In the 1920s the Soviet administrative system exerted efforts to impart the Communist ideology to Armenian pedagogy in order to turn it into a humble instrument. But the most part of Armenian teachers continued to educate pupils in the national spirit.



Arthur A. Hovhannisyan
This article is dedicated to the study of the bronze sculptures of well-known Armenian sculptor-artist Khoren Der-Harutyan. Der-Harutyan’s works were formed in the early 30’s of the 20th century, outside of the historical homeland, particularly on the Latin American island of Jamaica. Here he created numerous colorful paintings and graphic works, as well as, great amount of sculptures from different types of local solid wood. In the following years Der-Harutyan’s art was developed in the USA, England, Italy, as well as, in Armenia.

Khoren Der-Harutyan’s works generally present not only tragic events referring his childhood, but also the basic socio and political problems of the 20th century, which have left a deep mark on the fate of humankind. The works of the artist reflected the disasters of the Armenian Genocide, the Second World War, Hiroshima atomic explosion, the Vietnam War, etc. But the images with tragic content are often followed by the works with the spirit of heroism, optimism, love and unity.

The bronze sculptures, which have been around since the 1960’s are important in Khoren Der-Harutyan’s art. In 1962-1963 Der- Harutyan lived in the city of Florence, Italy, where he improved the techniques of working with bronze. The artist was particularly influenced by the monuments of the Italian Renaissance. There is a variety of themes and styles touching eternal universal themes not only in his works of wood and stone, but also in his bronze sculptures. Here the themes of heroic struggle, survival, unyielding human spirit are also considered. The style of the artist is dramatically changed in this period. The slick, round forms of his wooden and stone sculptures are replaced by sharp, rough surfaces. Besides, working with bronze DerHarutyan deals more freely with sculptural forms and as a result, the bronze works of different periods get lively, vibrant forms.



Arman A. Makaryan

Key words – gender upbringing, child – reader, children’s press, images, girls, boys, biological gender, physical differences, role penetrations.

The article is dedicated to the gender study of pictures printed in “Theatre: A Friend to Children”. In the course of the study the children’s periodical is observed as a peculiar semiotic system addressed to children in which the imageunits inform the reader about their models of gender upbringing. The girl and boy characters embodied in the pictures are the examples of self-identification, “ideal heroes” who must be imitated.

The boys are strong, masculine, doing physical jobs and have undertaken the function of protecting the weak ones, while the girls have put on their shoulders the burden of housework and are standing beside the men with dropped heads and in modest posture. In the pictures of the periodical this plot model becomes an acting pattern from which only one hero is deviating, that is, Gevorg who has got “a girl’s function”.



Artur T. Vardikyan

Key words – Artavazd Peleshyan, Hamo Beknazaryan, Ara Vahuni, Harutyun Khachatryan, traditional documentary cinema, poetic cinema, concreteness of film, Karabakh movement, film reels, poetical and poetic elements.

Filmmaker Artavazd Peleshyan is often associated with documentary cinema. However a documentary director’s main goal is to capture the fact of reality on camera. For Peleshyan, however, the fact is merely a means of creating his own poetic reality, where all in-frame objects lose their concreteness and strive to generalizations. The reason for this false association is simply that, just like documentarists, Peleshyan uses unstaged reality as the “building material” for his films. Nonetheless, it has to be said that Peleshyan’s work has greatly influenced the generations of Armenian filmmakers that followed. While keeping the attributes of Soviet documentary film, directors Ara Vahuni and Ruben Gevorgyants added new poetic elements to their films. Directors of later generation, such as Grigor Harutyunyan, Harutyun Khachatryan and Garegin Zakoyan, who were influenced by Peleshyan in one way or an other, did not just use poetic elements, but made structurally poetic films. Thus after Peleshyan started his work Armenian cinematography discovered its new course and realized itself in basically all genres of poetic film.



Lilit Sh. Mikaelyan

Key words – Aghtamar; Church of Holy Cross; Kingdom of Artsruni; Armenian medieval sculpture; Early Christian art; Iconography; Prophet Jonah; Jewish sources; Kētos; Sea monster; Vishap; Senmurv; Sasanian culture.

The Church of the Holy Cross (915-921) on the island of Aghtamar is famous for its rich sculptural decoration of facades and for the wideness of the stories, in particular on the Old Testament. There are many studies on this monument, nevertheless the interpretations of several compositions and the iconographic origins of some images of it are still in dispute. Among them the story of Prophet Jonah (Jonah 1-4) is notable, which occupies the entire south-western part of the main sculptural band and is the most extensive narrative composition of Aghtamar. On the left side of the large composition there is the scene of the swallowing of Jonah by the whale and then there is the episode of the release of the prophet from the belly of the sea monster,and his rest under the shadow of the gourd bush, and above it is depicted the scene of preaching in Nineveh. The iconography of scenes and images of the Jonah’s story in Aghtamar has early Christian prototypes: the fragment of a sailboat with the figures,the representation of the prophet’s naked figure, as well as,the image of the sea monster date back to the ancient ketos. The baldness of the prophet in the recreation scene comes from the Jewish sources, according to which he had lost his hair being in the fiery belly of the whale. At the church of Aghtamar we have one of the earliest samples of this type of Jonah’s iconography in Christian art. The scene of preaching in Nineveh is also a very early and unique interpretation of the episode, not known in early Christian art indicating a certain creative approach of the artist. At Aghtamar both sea monsters are done with the head of a dog and the body of a fish, but the whale ejecting the prophet has also wings and paws of the predator. The representation of the whale in two different guises in the church of the Holy Cross is unique for the Christian art. The iconography of the second monster and details of its depiction reveal obvious parallels with the image of the so-called «senmurv» in Sasanian art. According to the latest studies, it was the embodiment of Farn – the deity of fortune, glory and heavenly patronage of Zoroastrian mythology. The use of the iconography of the «senmurv» in the image of the whale on Aghtamar bears out its interpretation in a positive way against the orthodox Christian tradition, but is accordant to the symbol of the whale in Jewish exegesis as the savior and patron of the prophet (Midrash, Haggadah, Philo of Alexandria). In the Sogdian culture, close to Sasanian Iran, sea monsters were the patrons of kings and heroes, as we can see in VIII century frescoes in Panjakent. The influence of Iranian art is quite significant for Aghtamar from the perspective of the cultural contacts of the Kingdom of Artsruni with the Arab Caliphate, which resulted in the revival of Sasanian art. We can find the images of the whale as a sea monster in X century monuments of Transcaucasia, too. The bald Jonah in the mouth of a sea monster is known in the décor of Khakhu Cathedral in Tayk, on the relief of the church in KvaisaJvari in South Ossetia, on the fragment of the templon from the church in Dranda in Abkhazia (all dated to the X century). The latter confirms the existence of a common tradition of the depiction of the story in Armenia and throughout Transcaucasia in this period. Later, in XIII century Cilician miniature, as well as on the relief of the high apse in the Church of the Mother of God (1205) of Makaravank, this story is interpreted according to the Western iconography, where the whale has already the appearance of a real fish.



Gegham M. Asatryan

Key words – Makravank, 9-11th centuries cross-stones, earlykhachkars, simplicity, Kotayk’s artistic style, “Hrazdan type” of cross stones, “Annie style”.

There are numerous cross-stones in different stages of preservation throughout the territory of the complex of Makaravank located in the north-west ofKotayk’sregional center, Hrazdan. Early cross-stones date back to the 9-11th centuries. They, along with the patterns of general cross-stone art development, still have certain peculiarities and thus, since 9-11th centuries have been the basis for the “Hrazdan type” of cross-stones, which dates back to the twelfth century and is older than the other, i.e., “Geghard type” formed in Kotayk. They have playedunique role in establishing it, as well asin the separation from the early cross-stones,that is, the cross-stone of 959 AD, which is a separate set of crossstone school in two neighboring provincesof Kotayk and Aragatsotn.There are also several other early cross-stones as well as the cross-stone of 1039, which, as we found out is a cross-stone of “Annie style”. The latter clearly allows us to conclude that this style had not gone beyond the central parts of Kotayk.