A lecture by Prof. Levon Chookaszian
UNESCO Chair of Art History, Yerevan State University
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 5:00 p.m.
Ararat-Eskijian Museum—Sheen Chapel
15105 Mission Hills Road, Mission Hills, CA
The archaeological evidence of the involvement of Armenia in the developing system of the pan-Asian exchange of goods can be traced to the 3rd millennium B.C. Goods destined for the Near East, from Central and South-Eastern Asia, passed through Armenia to be taken to western Asia Minor, the Balkans, and the North Caucasian passes and beyond. These routes served as the beginning of the Great Silk Road.
The “opening” of the road in the 130s B.C. after the successful mission of Chan Tsiang—the ambassador of the Chinese Emperor to the palace of Parthian monarchs—coincided with the period of political and economic rise of the Armenian Kingdom under Tigran the Great (95-55 B.C.).
Through the current territory of the Republic of Armenia, along the Ararat valley, stretches one of the principal branches of the Silk Road. Five historic capitals of Armenia, including Yerevan, are on this road. Silks and textiles were not only exported to Armenia but also produced inside of country. The renowned Venetian Marco Polo was astounded by the beauty of Armenian carpets. We find that beauty on the canvases of Italian Renaissance painters and in the descriptions of the palaces of Khalid Al-Rashid. Images of these silks and textiles are preserved inside of the Armenian medieval manuscripts—but are as of now largely unstudied.
Dr. Levon Chookaszian is the UNESCO Professor of Armenian Art History at Yerevan State University and one of the leading authorities in the world on Armenian art. He is the author of two monographs: one on the art of 13th century Armenian miniaturist Grigor (1986), and the other on the art of the painter Arshag Fetvadjian (2011). Chookaszian has taught at Yerevan State University since 1978 and is one of the founders of the department of art history. In 1996 he established the UNESCO CHAIR of Armenian Art History.