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Walters Ms. W.544, Gospels
This manuscript was executed in 1115 of the Armenian era [1666 CE], and the scribe, Mik’ayel son of Bargham, identifies himself in a brief colophon on fol. 126r. Mik’ayel was a prominent scribe and artist active in second half of the seventeenth century. Close to two dozen manuscripts are associated with his name. The style of the miniatures and marginal illustrations in this manuscript is quite distinct from Mik’ayel’s own. It has been suggested that Mik’ayel copied the text and an associate, perhaps Mkrtum of New Julfa or Mkrtitch Djahenkal, who both worked in the city of Tokat, painted the images. Two folios of the manuscript are precisely dated (fol. 20r, April 24; fol. 200v, June 25), so we can observe the speed at which the scribe worked, about ninety folios per month. Another inscription on fol. 254r shows that the manuscript was later dedicated at the Church of St. Stephen.
Dated 1666 CE
The primary language in this manuscript is Armenian. The secondary language of this manuscript is No linguistic content; Not applicable.
- In vernacular: Fol. 20r Թվին ռ՟ճ՟ժ՟ե՟ (= 1666). Ապրիլի ի՟դ՟ (= 24) Fol. 126r Գրեցաւ սուրբ աւետարանս ի թվին ռ՟ճ՟ժ՟ե՟ (= 1666), ձեռամբ նուաստ և ապիկար սուտանուն Միքայիլի, որդոյ տէր Բարղամ գրչի, և աշակերտի տէր Մկրտիչ գրչի: Աղաչեմ զհանդիպողսդ յիշել ի մաքրափայլ յաղօթս ձեր զվերոյ գրեալ պատուական գըրիչքն և դուք յիշեալ լիցիք ի Քրիստոսէ: Fol. 200v Թվին ռ՟ճ՟ժ՟ե՟ (= 1666). Յունիսի ի՟ե՟ (= 25) Fol. 254 Յիշատակ է սուրբ աւետարանս Խան Սլթանին. և իւր ծնօղացն, հօրն Թաթոսին, մօրն Ղիմաթին, եղբօրն Թորոսին, որդոցն Սահակին, և Սրբահամին, ի դուռն սուրբ Ըստեփաննոսի եկեղեցւոյն …
- Translation: Fol. 20r In the year 1115 (= 1666), April 24th. Fol. 126r This holy Gospels was written in the year 1115 (= 1666), by the ignoble and feeble one, falsely called Mik‘ayil, the son of Lord Baghram the scribe, and pupil of Lord Mkrtich‘ the scribe. I implore you who happen upon it to remember in your chaste prayers the honorable scribes mentioned above and you shall be remembered by Christ. Fol. 200v In the year 1115 (= 1666), the 25th of June. Fol. 254r This holy Gospels in in memory of Khan Slt‘an and her parents, her father T‘at‘os, her mother Ghimat‘, her brother T‘oros, her sons Sahak and Srbaham, for the Church of St. Step‘annos.
Cream-colored paper; many leaves have been damaged by dampness, and some have been moth-eaten; fol. 254 has been partially mutilated; the leaf has been reinforced with paper pasted on
Pencil foliation upper right, rectos
Formula: 1(10), 2(4), 3-22(12)
Signatures: Armenian letters, middle of bottom margin at beginning and end of each quire, commencing with the third quire, fol. 15 (third quire has signature at end)
Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1, 11, 15, 27, 39, 51, 63, 75, 87, 99, 111, 123, 135, 147, 159, 171, 183, 195, 207, 219, 231, 243.
14.0 cm wide by 19.7 cm high
8.9 cm wide by 12.9 cm high
- Columns: 1-2
- Ruled lines: 23
- Layout does not apply to canon tables (fols. 1v-10r), prefaces (fols. 11r-14v, 81v-83r, 126r-128r, 199v-200v), or incipit pages for the Gospels (fols. 17r, 84r, 129r, 199v)
- Title: Gospel Book
- Contents: The manuscript could not be opened for imaging due to the fragile condition of its binding.
- Decoration note: Architectural canon tables with narrative scenes, portraits, floral ornaments, and animals; the opening pages of the Gospels are illuminated with full-page Evangelist portraits confronting headpieces with floral ornaments, animals, sirens, and interlaces; seventy-four marginal miniatures throughout the manuscript
- Title: Letter of Eusebius to Carpianus
- Decoration note: Text written in architectural frame with portraits of Eusebius and Carpianus in the lunettes; birds, trees, crosses, and floral designs
- Title: Canon tables
- Decoration note: Ornamental arcades; canon table on fol. 3v has a representation of the Holy Trinity in the arch, trees and birds in the margin; the canon table on fol. 4 has Christ's head and cherubim in the arch, Adam and Eve in the margin; the next four Canon Tables on fols. 5v, 6r, 7v-8r, are decorated with floral ornaments; the Canon table on fol. 9v has the drollery of an archer confronting a seated monkey; the last canon table on fol. 10r is decorated with floral ornament framing the Pantocrator
- Title: Gospels
- Contents: Complete except for Mark 16:9-20, and John 8:1-12. Fols. 11r-14v: preface, index, and concordance to Matthew; fols. 17r-81v: Gospel of Matthew; fols. 81v-83r: preface and index to Mark; fols. 84r-126r: Gospel of Mark; fols. 126r-128r: preface and index to Luke; fols. 129r-199r: Gospel of Luke; fols. 199v-200v: preface and index to John; fols. 202r-254r: Gospel of John
- Decoration note: Evangelist portraits fols. 16v, 83v, 128v, 201v; headpieces with floral ornaments, animals, sirens, and interlaces fols. 17r, 84r, 129r, 202r; numerous marginal illuminations throughout
The binding is original.
Brown goatskin over thin boards, decorated in blind with small tools arranged in a guilloche, showing a stepped cross within a frame on the upper cover and, on the lower cover within the guilloche frame, a panel decorated with rosette tools. There are traces of former metal attachments on the covers. The spine is decorated with closely set vertical incisions and a scattering of small tools; it is raised at the head and tail. The headbands are embroidered with red, white, and black silk.
Written by the scribe Mik'ayēl, 1115 (=A.D. 1666) (see colophon fol. 126r)
It was deposited in the Church of St. Stephen as a memorial for Khan Sult'an, his father T'at'os, his mother Ghimat', his brother T'oros, and his sons Sahak' and Abraham (see notice on fol. 254r)
Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest
Thanks are expressed to Professor Bernard Coulie (Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve) for kindly making available his bibliography on the Armenian manuscripts kept in the Walters Art Museum.
Der Nersessian, Sirarpie. Armenian Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery, 1973, pp. 63-68, no. VIII.
Walters Art Gallery. The History of Bookbinding, 525-1950 A.D.: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, November 12, 1957, to January 12, 1958. Baltimore: The Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 1957, no. 105.
De Ricci, Seymour, and W.J. Wilson. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. 2 vols. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 762, no. 27.
Principal catalogers: Der Nersessian, Sirarpie; Landau, Amy; van Lint, Theo M
Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley
Editor: Herbert, Lynley
Copy editor: Dibble, Charles
Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail
Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.
The Walters Art Museum
Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.