The Georgian Scriptoria of the Black Mountain (Antioch): Illustrations of the Gospel Books

Nino Kavtaria

My project, supported by a FaRiG Grant, researched the illuminated Gospel manuscripts from the Georgian scriptoria of the Black Mountain near Antioch (now in Turkey).

The Georgian codices from these Scriptoria of the Black Mountain collectively form the most significant group of Georgian miniature paintings. They not only illustrate the text, but also depict the cultural and political context in which the handwritten book was produced.

The manuscripts discussed in this project are the codices: A-484 (the so-called Alaverdi Gospel), S-962, H-2211 (the Greater Synaxarion), A-845 (Ruisi Gospel), H-2806, H-1791, A-516 and K-76, survived at the National Centre of Manuscripts of Georgia (former K.Kekelidze State Institute of manuscripts of the Academy of Science of Georgia) and Kutaisi N.Berzenishvili Historical-Ethnographical Museum and Iberico I, from Vatican Library.  There is historical evidence of the place and time of execution in the colophons of manuscripts.

One can find similarities between these manuscripts and Georgian and Byzantine manuscript illuminations of the XI-XII centuries (manuscripts of the so-called Black Mountain circle:  Šuk.760, from State Historical Museum of Moscow, Sinai, Cod.158 from Sinai Mount collection and Gelati Gospel -Q-908 from the National Center of Manuscripts of Georgia). This indicates that these manuscripts reflect the traditions of the Black Mountain artistic school.

You can read the complete work as a PDF.

Nino Kavtaria