Manuscript No. 39: Psalter, 15th/16th Century
- Manuscript No. 39: Psalter, 15th/16th Century
- Uniform title
- Date Created
- 15th/16th Century
- Armenian Manuscripts
- The MS is a defective copy of the Psalter (Saghmosaran) of the Armenian Church. The surviving leaves contain, with lacunae, the texts of Psalms 3:5-148:13. The missing Psalms are: 8:6-10:6; 12:4-15:5; 21:27-23:3; 84:5-85:14; 87:6-88:4, 89:1-45; 90:11-13; 114:1-115:2.
- Text in bolorgir, written in two columns of 21 lines each. Subtitles in red bolorgir, and initials in red erkat’agir.The original codex must have had at least 15 quires; currently, the last numbered quire has the number 15 written in the lower margin on fol. 146. Some complete quires suggest that the gatherings probably consisted of 12 leaves each. As is customary, the quires are numbered with the letters of the Armenian alphabet written in bolorgir in the lower margin of the page.
- There are no colophons in the codex; hence its date of execution and provenance are unknown. There are four inscriptions; one of these mentions the name of the scribe who asks the reader “to remember in the Lord me, the scribe Yovanēs” (fol. 29). Another inscription pleads, “Lord God, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon the owner of this [book]” (fol. 77), but fails to mention his name.The paleography and the style of the illuminations suggest that the codex was probably written in the 15th or 16th century.A notation on fol. 102v states that an individual named Yustian died in the year 1206 of the Armenian Era (=A.D. 1757). In two other inscriptions (fols. 71 and 125) we find the signature of an individual named Vardanēs. It is not known whether Yustian and/or Vardanēs owned the codex.There is no information as to when and from whom Dr. Minasian acquired the book.
- 155 fols.
- 17.5x12.5 cm.
- Binding note
- Detached quires and leaves of thick polished paper, damaged. Four V-notches edient. However, the quire which starts with fol. 135 has two central W-notches, and a fragment of white sewing thread in its center. There are also four punched holes approximately 0.5 cm. away from the spine passing through the text, perhaps indicating that at one point the book was stab-sewn. Edges worn and damaged.
- Condition note
- Very poor state of preservation. The MS has differed extensive damage from fire and dampness, but the text is generally legible. Folios missing at the beginning and end of the book, and there are lacunae between fols. 4 and 5, 5 and 6, 11 and 12, 15 and 16, 29 and 30, 54 and 55, 93 and 94, 94 and 95, 97 and 98, 98 and 99, 122 and 123m 124 and 125. Many smudges and scribbles throughout the text, and many leaves have ink stains.
- Illustrations note
- The codex is illuminated with five one-column headpieces (fols. 12, 55v, 77v, 117 and 137) and 54 tubular and bird-form initials with corresponding marginal palmettes.The paper of the MS is made of two thinner sheets, glued together; in several places (e.g. fol. 97, and fol. 118), the paper has been split, making room for children’s calligraphy practice.Although the text itself is fairly neat and even, the problems the illuminator had with his task are apparent throughout the book. Marginal palmettes and tubular initials, which ought to be symmetrical, instead drift off-axis to the lower right. The scale of the initials varies throughout the manuscript, as does the palette; the impression is of one artist trying different solutions, rather than of several equally iept hands. Thus one finds tubular initials drawn only in outline (fol. 1) or filled in (fol. 12), and palmettes drawn in shades of brown or purple or both together, with the areas they enclose filled in with green (fol. 11) or red (fol. 83v).The five modest one-column headpieces all suffer from similar problems. The field is a simple box, to be filled with traditional leaf and vine rinceaux. Where interlacing vines are called for, the artist often produced a tangle; the geometry of leaves curling to produce arabesque forms in rarely achieved. The headpieces on fols. 55v and 77v are badly smudged, evidently the result both of water damage and of the original artist’s poor control of his paints.
Find This Item
- University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections
- Manifest url
- Rights statement
- public domain