Need inspiration for your autumn look? This fall, The Met Store presents this fine wool scarf, which is designed with a geometric motif found in an Armenian Gospel book (1434–35), the series of Biblical narratives from the perspective of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that relates good news from the Kingdom of God. Our exquisite scarf celebrates unique geometric patterns from one of the most sophisticated genres of Armenian art: Illuminated manuscripts.
One of the oldest Christian nations, Armenia adopted Christianity in the year 301 as the official state religion. The majority of Armenian illuminated manuscripts from the period feature miniatures, small illustrations used to animate stories from the Bible. Characterized by the lively use of color and imaginative compositions, these manuscripts demonstrate the strong national identity of early Christian Armenians. The “Word” has been central to worship in the Armenian Church since the 4th century, and these manuscripts are remarkable for their high-spirited designs that incorporate and express Armenian culture. Among Armenian miniature paintings, The Four Gospels was the most frequently illustrated text.
During the 15th century in the region of Khizan (now Turkey), a bold and theatrical style of illuminations emerged from Armenian miniaturists. Among the greatest and most celebrated of these artists was Khach’atur of Khizan—the probable illuminator of this gospel—who developed a new style that showcased the mixture and contrast of hues. His illustrations (above) utilized vivid pigments and depict figures outlined with graphic border designs; in this dramatic Nativity scene, Christ’s future death is suggested by his shroud-like dress and the manger’s rectangular red form.
The geometric patterns and vibrant hues seen in Armenian artworks continued into the Byzantine period, which was characterized by a much broader palette. Byzantine patterns featured a wide variety of richly colored decorative motifs— organic shapes, florals, and geometric elements.
Brimming with Armenian elegance, our vibrant-hued geometric-patterned scarf was inspired by this colorful illuminated manuscript and is certain to become a favorite in your wardrobe.