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Silver Gospels


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This Gospels manuscript was written in 937 of the Armenian era [1488 CE] in the province of Ekeeac' by the priest azar at the monastery of Surb Awgsend (St. Auxentius). Though the fifteenth-century manuscript was not a terribly costly production, it later came to be housed in a magnificent binding with large silver plaques showing the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple on the front and the Ascension on the back. This silver binding, which can be assigned to the seventeenth or early eighteenth century, was likely produced in Kayseri (Turkey). The manuscript's fifteenth-century Evangelist portraits show signs of Mongolian artistic influence, stemming from the time when Mongols had conquered the province. For a manuscript of similar style, see the Gospels in Jerusalem, no. 298, copied by Maghakia in 1497. The Walters' Silver Gospels was used over a long period by a succession of owners. Information about its history is given in its colophons and ownership inscriptions on the codex's final folios. One note indicates that the book was rebound in 1626, and offered to the church of Surb Astuacacin (Holy Theotokos) in memory of Caruk, Kirakos, and Girigor (fol. 280r). The last date given is the Armenian year 1161 (1712 CE), which may be when the manuscript was rebound.
Exhibitions
  • The History of Bookbinding 525-1950 A.D.. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1957-1958.
  • A Baltimorean in Paris: George A. Lucas, 1860-1909. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1979.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Manuscript Illumination. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1994.
  • The Cross and the Crescent: Books from the Ottoman Age. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2003.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Lazar, monastery of Surb Awgsend (St. Auxentius), Ekeleac', 1488; Eliay, Armenia, before 1626, by purchase; church of Surb Astuacacin (Holy Theotokos), Armenia, 1626, by gift; Xac'ik, Armenia [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Surf Parsam (St. Barsuma), Armenia, by gift [date of acquisition unknown]; Nonafar T'?kc'i, Armenia, before 1712, [mode of acquisition unknown]; Pahatur, Armenia, [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; the priest Nerses, Armenia [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; the church of Surb Lusaworic (St. Illuminator) [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931, [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters before 1931

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Creator
Period
1488
Medium
ink and pigments on thick paper folios with rounded outer edges bound between wooden boards lined with coarse blue linen covered with brown goatskin and overlaid with silver plaques
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.542
Measurements
Folio H: 9 13/16 × W: 7 3/16 in. (25 × 18.3 cm); Closed H: 9 3/4 × W: 7 11/16 × D: 3 1/16 in. (24.7 × 19.5 × 7.7 cm); Open 14v-15r H: 6 11/16 × W: 12 3/8 × D: 9 3/4 in. (17 × 31.5 × 24.7 cm)
Geographies
  • Ekeghiats (Place of Binding)
  • Armenia (Place of Binding)
  • Armenia (Place of Binding)

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