ARMENIAN HYMNAL [SARAKNOC], copied by the scribe Awetis, illuminated by the artist Hovhannes Lrwec'i. ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER [Awendanc', (Khizan, Van), A.D. 1647
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ARMENIAN HYMNAL [SARAKNOC], copied by the scribe Awetis, illuminated by the artist Hovhannes Lrwec'i. ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER [Awendanc', (Khizan, Van), A.D. 1647] 134 x 98mm, 416 leaves + 4 original fly-leaves from a 15th-century Latin breviary on vellum. COLLATION: 1-35 12 36 8 (lacking 10 leaves and final 2 blanks = 1/1 and 8-12, 2/1, 3/12, 5/1 and 12, 11/1, 36/7 and 8), quire signatures throughout, later ink pagination and pencil foliation (slightly incorrect). 22 lines, justification 93 x 55mm, written in black ink in small bolorgir , rubrics in red, first lines of principal hymns in gold bolorgir , initials in gold or colours, paragraph initials in gold, musical notation signs [khaz] above the lines. 4 half-page and 6 smaller ornamental headpieces, marginal decoration of painted stylized floral and foliate ornaments, some containing birds, 28 MARGINAL MINIATURES AND 11 LARGE MINIATURES. (Stitching partly broken and a number of leaves detached, but miniatures in brilliant condition). Contemporary calf binding over wooden boards, tooled in blind to a geometric strapwork design, flap tooled with strapwork ornaments, brown silk doublures, (upper cover and spine partly torn, with a portion of leather missing, thongs lacking) PROVENANCE: (1) The principal colophon on folios 390-394 begins in form of a verse in praise of the Holy Trinity, recording towards the end on ff 393-4 the history of the manuscript in verse and prose. It was copied in 1096 [i.e. A.D.1647] by the scribe Awetis in the village called Awendanc' [in the province of Mayekac', in the city of Hizan or Khizan, Van] "under the shelter of the church of Saints Peter and Paul and Gevorg 'the General' during bitter, most grievous and anxious times, due to the severity of the high taxation caused by the infidels". This refers to the incessant wars fought between the Ottoman Turks and the Persian dynasty of the Safavis (1500-1722), when Armenia was divided into two spheres of influence, the larger around Lake Van falling to the Turks, the smaller, including Erevan to the Persians. Below the miniature of the Resurrection (f.136), there is an inscription recording the date as 'In the year 1647 of Our Saviour and in 1096 [Armenian era]'. Another inscription by the artist in red bolorgir is found below the miniature of the Pentecost (f.188v), which translates "O brothers open and look and pray for mercy for the unworthy Larwec'us in the year 1647". A. Hovhannisyan, Hayeren Jeragreri xvii dari Hisatakaranner [i.e. Armenian manuscript colophons of the 17th century], Erevan 1974-84, records six colophons belonging to Hymnals copied by this scribe between 1629 and 1650, the present one being unknown (2) An early 19th-century inscription on the verso of the last leaf records in Armenian 'No.21. For the enjoyment of Mr. Zorap Zakharitch-Melikov 30/9/1837'. TEXT: The text is divided into the canons proper to the days of the liturgical year. The order of these canons and hymns is generally of the same use as that of the first edition of the Hymnal printed at Amsterdam in 1664. This order is decribed by F.Conybeare in his analysis of a manuscript hymnal (B.L.add.8999) in Catalogue of the Armenian Manuscripts in the British Museum (1913), pp 96-104. ILLUMINATION: Awendanc' in the province of Mayskac' (Khizan, Van) had a scriptorium in the monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul and St.Gevorg from the 14th century and a number of manuscripts produced there are known. The artist can be identified from the inscription below the miniature of Pentecost on folio 188v (as described above under 'Provenance') as Yovhanes Larwec'i (1610-1666), who worked in the scriptorium at Awendanc' with the scribe Awetis. Of six other Hymnals copied by Awetis, three were illuminated by Yovhanes Larwec'i. These are Jerusalem ms 1639 (A.D.1645), Matenadaran ms 8454 (A.D.1646) and Jerusalem ms 1659 (A.D. 1644), cf. Hovhannisyian, op.cit. , vol.III pp 183, 219-20, 395. Norayr Polarian, Hay Nkarolner [i.
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