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Gospel Book

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This manuscript was executed in 1475 CE by a scribe identified as Aristakes for a priest named Hakob. It contains a series of sixteen images on the life of Christ preceding the text of the Gospels, as well as the traditional Evangelist portraits, and there are marginal illustrations throughout. The style of the miniatures, which employ brilliant colors and emphasize decorative patterns, is characteristic of manuscript production in the region around Lake Van during the fifteenth century. The style of Lake Van has often been described in relation to schools of Islamic arts of the book. Numerous inscriptions (on fols. 258-260) spanning a few centuries attest to the manuscript's long history of use and revered preservation. The codex's later history included a rebinding with silver covers from Kayseri that date to approximately 1700. This jeweled and enameled silver binding bears a composition of the Adoration of the Magi on the front and the Ascension on the back.


Date Description Narrative
10/27/1981Examinationexamined for condition
6/14/2014Examinationexamined for condition
  • 4000 Years of Modern Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1953-1957.
  • The History of Bookbinding 525-1950 A.D.. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1957-1958.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Manuscript Illumination. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1988.
  • The Book and the Author: Portraits of the Evangelists in Eastern and Western Manuscripts. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1990-1991.
  • Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1994.
  • Illuminating the Word: Gospel Books in the Middle Ages. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2004.
  • Beasts on Parchment: Picturing Animals in Medieval Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010-2011.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Hakob, son of Umek and Hrip'sime, Armenia, 1475. Henry Walters, Baltimore, MD, before 1911; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters before 1911

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ink and pigments on medium-weight, trimmed, discolored paper folios with rounded outer edges and parchment flyleaves bound between boards covered with goatskin, repoussé, silver and gilded silver, enamel, and semi-precious and ruby inlay
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Folio H: 10 1/4 × W: 6 11/16 in. (26 × 17 cm); Closed H: 10 11/16 × W: 7 5/8 × D: 3 3/16 in. (27.2 × 19.4 × 8.1 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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