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T"oros Roslin
Armenian, Hromklay, 1256
Tempera colors, gold paint, and ink on parchment
10 7/16 x 7 1/2 in.
MS. 59, FOL. 3V

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On this canon table page from the Zeyt'un Gospels, the scribe and illuminator T'oros Roslin wrote the Armenian numerals in black ink and strictly aligned them in gold rectangles. Framing the numbers, the architecture and its embellishments are a riot of dynamic color and pattern, both naturalistic and abstract. Interlace made from strands of varied colors punctuates the columns; and the upper story, or the attic, contains abstract leaves arranged around concentric horseshoe arches with a center infill of interlace. The rigidity of the geometric pattern is relieved by the many lively birds, like the wide-eyed owls perched atop the flanking trees, and the delicately painted plants, including those emerging from a jewel-encrusted urn at the top of the image. Similar themes appear on the facing folio, visually linking the two images across the double page spread.