The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) and the Matenadaran Institute – Mesrop Mashtots of Ancient Manuscripts are pleased to announce the release of Manuscript Heritage of Artsakh and Utik, co-written by Hravard Hakobyan, doctor of art history; Tamara Minasyan, Doctor of Philology; and Vahe Torosyan, Doctor of History.
The publication was made possible by a grant from AGBU’s Lawrence Terzian Fund under the AGBU Research Grants for Artsakh, which aims to raise awareness and improve knowledge of Artsakh, its history, its culture and existing problems. The late Terzian was a professor of English at New York University, the founder of Industrial design magazine and author of numerous books and more than 200 published articles, many of which relate to Armenian writers and literature.
The work is an exceptional asset to promote international recognition of the cultural heritage of the two historical provinces of Armenia, Artsakh and Utik. These provinces have long been home to countless theological, historical, educational, and ritual manuscripts, most of which are now housed in Matenadaran. The collective efforts of the co-authors prove the centuries-old Armenian presence in these regions.
The volume consists of three parts and reflects the history of Artsakh and Utik, presents the scriptoria and educational centers of these regions that functioned alongside the great monasteries, as well as reveals the iconographic peculiarities of the illuminated manuscripts created between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. . “The manuscript heritage of Artsakh and Utik, as a harmonious part of the history and cultural heritage of these provinces, is rich with many Christian architectural and sculptural monuments, khachkars (stone crosses) and centuries-old edifices medieval, which we must preserve and pass on from generation to generation,” notes the book’s editor, Professor Karen Matevosyan, Doctor of Historical Sciences.
Minasyan notes: “In the current political and regional developments, when neighboring countries do their utmost to falsify history and present Armenian cultural heritage as their own, especially Caucasian Albanian, these scientifically proven revelations can serve as solid base to resist flow. of misinformation. While their attempts are somewhat successful in ruining our cultural and architectural monuments, it is much more difficult for them to gain access to our manuscripts. In particular, the manuscript colophons are exceptional sources that unquestionably prove the secular Armenian presence in Artsakh and Utik.
Manuscript Heritage of Artsakh and Utik is one of 18 projects funded under the AGBU Artsakh Research Grants created in the aftermath of Artsakh’s 44-day war. At a rally at AGBU Armenia to celebrate the launch of the publication, AGBU Armenia President Vasken Yacoubian explained the mission of AGBU Artsakh’s research grants. “The 44-day Artsakh war has demonstrated a huge knowledge gap within the international community about Artsakh’s history in general and its cultural heritage in particular. The project aims to penetrate all spheres of Artsakh history to raise awareness of data-based and unbiased facts. In this regard, Matenadaran, as the main repository of ancient manuscripts and sources, can be one of the key pillars to promote this initiative intensively.
With the dissemination of this content among scholars and a wider audience, AGBU and Matenadaran are helping to prevent the tampering of Armenian history. The publication is already distributed in Europe. The authors have also participated in various international conferences. “We plan to share the book with all foreign embassies in Armenia, international cultural institutions, universities abroad, as well as within international scientific circles and centers. We strongly believe that through this publication, the world will learn about the rich cultural heritage of Artsakh and Utik,” said Matenadaran Director Dr. Vahan Ter-Ghevondyan.