Treasures from the Ark

Exhibition at the British Library

reviewed by Leslie Barker



Not literally from the ark but Armenia originally included Mount Ararat in its territory.

But Armenia was the first Christian country and 2001AD marked its 1700th anniversary.

However Armenia has rarely been an independent country, nor has it always occupied the same exact geographical location. So the exhibition had at least two points of interest, firstly as an example of a continuing Christian culture over 17 centuries, and secondly as a culture which, like the Jewish, has survived through its people, without necessarily having a continuing geographic base. Indeed Jerusalem has an Armenian quarter with a cathedral dating from the 12th century.

The exhibition was a unique gathering of Armenian artefacts and manuscripts from around the world, and many never before seen outside Armenia. There were of course no buildings, apart from a few photographs, and some stone model churches, but there were stone crosses, a 13th century carved wooden door and furnishings.

If you missed the exhibition it may still be featured on the Library website,, and the catalogue, a fully illustrated book, is available - Treasures from the Ark: 1700Years of Armenian Christian Art by Vrej Nersessian, published by the British Library in 2001.


Leslie Barker








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