The Armenians, who recognised Christianity as their state religion at the begining of the fourth century, have long maintained an independent Christian tradition. Living on the eastern border of Byzantium, they frequently installed imposing stone cross called Khatchkars as memorials to the dead and to mark the location of significant events during the medieval period. The elaborate interlace frame on this Khatchkars contains a monumental cross resting on the heads of the four evangalists, the authors of the Gospels. The large head of Saint Mattew's angel presides over the smaller heads of Saint Mark's lion, Saint Luke's ox (on its side), and Saint John's eagle(in profile). The Khatchkar is from northern Armenia, a region that fell to the Mongols in the early century, soon after the Khatchkar was carved.

Keywords: cross-Armenia, Aremenian cross

Courtesy : The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


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