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Art and Culture

Armenia’s size and borders have changed many times during her long history.It has been the scene of many wars in ancient and more recnt times.They tore the country apart and have left a deep imprint on Armenian culture.

The predominately mountainous landscapes,its rocks and stone influenced the Armenian way of life and the culture of her people-,,in the beginning was architecture,,.And the architecture gave birth to other arts.

A`survey of Armenian sculpture begin with a look at the small Bronze Age brores and giant stone sculptures of fish and sea monsters which were believed to guard water in the mountain springs.These stone creatures called vishaps(dragons) were discovered in Gegham mountains.They date back to the 10-8 cc B.C.

Other archaeological finds bear witness to the development of arts in Armenia of the Hellenic period.Hellinic culture has become part of Armenian culture as a whole.
After adoptuin of Christianity in 301 A.D all the pagan tremples were destroyed and on their sites the Christian chirches were built.
The invention of Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots in the 5th century was crucial and marked the beginning of new epoch in Armenian history.The written word now helped to develop the Armenian langiage and national literature.The translation also became an important issue.
The 7th century was called the Golden Age.Apart from many monasteries and churches there is an impressive collection of the 7th c free –standing and architectural sculture.Some church interiors were decorated with frescoes,Armenian monasteries also provided for another kind of creative activity of manastic artists- an activity of a distinctly national character,which resulted in the appereance of numerous memorial stelae-,,cross-stones,, or khachklars within the monastery pricinicts.
Decorated with with predominately ornamented carved releifs,khachkars are unparalled in the world of art.Khachkars played an important and variant role in the life of medieval Armenia.They were built for many different reasons:a victory,the foundation of a village,the completion of a church but most commonly they were gravestones.
Later bas-releifs and frescoes lead us to another important aspect of medieval art-the illuminated manuscripts which is undoubtedly another important phenomena in Armenia art an dhistory.Early Armenian miniatures are remarkable for their festive grandeur,they make one feel the infinit power of art and the universality of its language.
The history of Armenian illumination began when in 405-406 when Mesrop Mashtots invented the Aremnian alphabet and Armenian scribes began to copy and translate Christian texts.
Mniscripts in the second period (12th to 14 c) also have certain artistic unity in their mailn features.It was in this period that the illumination developed into the book illustration proper which ,though it had its own peculiarities,still conformed to the rules to the manuscripts illumination.Th emid-13th c Cilician school is unique in the brilliance of illumination.For masters of that school an illuminated Gospel manuscript has value,both religious and aesthetic.
The fisrt Armenian printed book appeared in Amsterdam in 1512.After that printed book began to spread rapidly and eventually outsed the more expensive manuscripts.
Conditions in the 16th to 16th cc c when Armenia was divided between Turkey and Persia,tchanged the prientation of art which turned to everyday life.
Minor Arts began to develop rapidly.Some of the minor arts,though faithful to tradition,passed into the hands of folk masters and eventually developed into well-known crafts such as Armenian carpet- and lace-making and filigree work.Carpet-making increased at the end of of the 19th c when Armenian carpets began to be exported to Russia,Western Europe and North America.
The ladte Middle Ages are also represented by magnificent gold embroidery in couchwork which decorated`the vestments of high clergy.By that time,the fame of Armenian embroideresses and goldsmiths spread far beyond Armenia’s borders.