Manuscript No. 35: Psalter, 15th/16th Century
- Manuscript No. 35: Psalter, 15th/16th Century
- Uniform title
- Date Created
- 15th/16 Century
- Armenian Manuscripts
- The MS is a defective copy of the Armenain Psalter (Saghmosaran). It lacks Psalm 1-20 and half of Psalm 21.
- Text in bolorgir, written in one column of 18-19 lines. Subtitles in red bolorgir, and initials throughout the text in red erkatagir and notragir capital letters. Because of the defective stat of the codex, the number of quires and of leaves in the gatherings cannot be determined.
- The principle colophon is missing; hence the date of execution and provenance of the book are unknown. In an inscription in the lower part of the page fol. 42 the scribe, who fails here to mention his name, asks clerical readers of the codex to remember him in their prayers. We find his name, Mkrtich’, on fol. 97 in an inscription in which he bemoans his life asa wanderer and concludes by saying to himself: “Go back to your ancestral land so you will be happy.” Mkrtich’ has also written his name in the lower margin of many pages. The paleography and the style of the illustrations suggest that the MS was probably executed in the 15th or 16th century.From a partially legible notation in the left hand margin on fol. 32v we learn that the book was subsequently purchased by a bishop named Zagaray. Finally, an inscription on fol. 42, dated 1154 of the Armenian Era (=A.D. 1705), records the name of “the servant of God, Bargham”; the reading of the last two digits of the date are uncertain. We do not know whether Bargham actually owned the book.There is no information as to when and from whom Dr. Minasian acquired the codex.
- 109 fols.
- 14x9 cm.
- Binding note
- None. Textblock loose but still sewn and intact; some detached leaves. Traditional Armenian sewing structure. Herringbone stitch sewn on three cords; central cord is thicker than the other two. Central notch is V-notch to accommodate thicker cord; head and tail notches are V-cut. Edges soiled and very word and rounded. A few threads remain at tail from endband tie-down of primary core.
- Condition note
- Poor state of preservation. Besides the defective binding, many leaves are missing at the beginning and end of the book; also extensive lacunae throughout the codex. Many leaves have been misbound, and a substantial number of leaves have suffered damage from fire and dampness. Many marginal ornaments have been partially trimmed in the process of binding. Scribbles on many pages.
- Illustrations note
- The codex contains four headpieces, with illuminated incipit lines and marginal palmettes (fols. 42v, 62, 83, and 97v), as well as 30 bird-form and tubular initials with corresponding marginal birds and palmettes, which mark the major divisions of the book.The contrast of highly competent calligraphy and amateurish illumination is striking. The initials and corresponding marginalia are very simple: either bird or tubular initials, palmettes or bird marginalia, drawn in thick lines of the orange/red ink used for rubrics. There is no modeling. Even for such simple illumination, the artists had recourse to pencil preliminary drawings, which he then partially erased.All of the headpieces consist of a rectangular frame, filled with vegetal interlace and topped with a symmetrical array of leaves and tendrils. All four headpieces are slightly different in coloration, as if the artist experimented (unsuccessfully) as he worked. Fol. 42v is, indeed, an ugly jumble. Uneven red lines define the basic forms. Leaves are striated in a yellow-gray wash or filled with the same red. The ground within the rectangle is filled with an uneven application of dull blue. The same palette is used for the marginal palmette and the incipit line, and, fortunately, nowhere else in the manuscript. Fols. 62 and 97v carry headpieces done all in red. The task of creating a symmetrical composition with a convincing interlace overwhelmed the artist in both folios. On fol. 97v he began to dill the field with the yellow-gray wash, but thought better of it. The headpiece on fol. 83 features a new use of the inks used elsewhere in the manuscript, with the basic outlines in heavy lines of the black ink used for the text, picked out in red. The effect is bolder, though not much more sure-handed, than that of the other illuminations.
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- University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections
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- Rights statement
- public domain