Details
Anonynmous Armenian illuminator
Four Gospels, in Armenian, illuminated manuscript on vellum, Marunan, Sos (New Julfa, Isfahan), 1703
An attractive example of late Armenian illumination, with bold, formalised decoration and appealing miniatures, painted in clear bright colours.

177 x 132mm. 272 leaves: 12 (likely of 8), 2-1912, 2012 (vi and vii singletons), 21-2312, 246, gathering signatures throughout on final verso and first recto, intermittant pencil foliation missing 3 and therefore one out, until f.130, followed here, two columns of 21 lines written in black ink in a regular bolorgir hand, written space: c.120 x 37mm, concordance numbers in lower and outer margins in small bolorgir, headings and uncial versals in red and blue, chapter initials in foliate and zoomorphic designs accompanied by marginal ornaments of interlace and leaf forms drawn in dark pink and shaded with pink and blue, two pages of canon-tables between columns supporting a patterned architrave and flanked by trees, all with perching birds, four decorative headpieces in the form of cusped spandrels patterned with coiling tendrils and stylised foliage, marginal ornaments at the opening of each Gospel, where the first letter is in the form of the appropriate Evangelist's symbol and the following few letters in the shape of exotic birds, all in pink and blue but the Evangelists' symbols in colour, four full-page evangelist portraits in pinks, blue, orange, green and yellow and with dark flesh-tones (lacking six tables and the letter of Eusebius to Carpianus, some thumbing, darkening and spotting, mainly affecting margins). Contemporary calf over wooden boards tooled in blind with a strapwork cross and annular disks, spine alla greca, a tooled flap (lacking metalwork cornerpieces, studs and fastenings, loss from head of spine, extremities rubbed). Modern tan cloth box.

Content:
Canon-tables ff.1-2; Table of contents and Preface for the Gospel of St Matthew ff.4-6v; Gospel of St Matthew ff.8-82; Table of contents and Preface for the Gospel of St Mark ff.82v-84; Gospel of St Mark ff.85-129v; Table of contents and Preface for the Gospel of St Luke ff.130-132v; Gospel of St Luke ff.134-207v; Table of contents and Preface for the Gospel of St John ff.208-209v; Gospel of St John ff.211-267; principal colophon ff.267v-271v.

The full-page miniatures are: St Matthew seated at his desk writing on a bifolium f.7v; St Mark seated at his desk writing on a bifolium f.84v; St Luke seated and writing on an unfurled scroll f.133v; St John standing, looking to heaven and gesturing towards Prochurus seated on a cushion f.210v.

Please note this lot is the property of a trader. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
Provenance
(1) The colophon on ff.267v-271v records the copying of the manuscript at the church of St Minas in the village of Marunan in Sos (Isfahan) during the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Echmiadzin of Ter Nahapet I Edesac'i (1691-1705), and the Prelacy of Archbishop Alex'sandr of Julay (1699-1706), and the reign of the Shah Sultan Hussain (1694-1722). It was completed in the Armenian era 1152 (1703) on 16 November for a patron named Minas.

(2) A later owner's note records the acquisition of the manuscript on 8 April 1887 (f.272v).

(3) Sotheby's, 29 November 1990, lot 160.
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