The Structure and Ideology of Khachkar Composition
The relief line and the semblance of infinity
In the beginning of the 11th century the main compositional feature gives over to the relief line or to similar dual-line or triple-line ribbon. In 12th and 13th centuries the rosette, palm decor, the cross, and corner belts are woven. Imagine that the relief line is a woven thread, which knits the rosette, then the palm decor, then the cross, then the corner belt, etc. It is not only infinite, but also flexible: it elastically turns and under all circumstances "tries" to avoid the sharp angles. The infinity of the line visibly insures the semblance of eternity and completeness of the composition. If we follow this line, we will be lost in elastic motion and passes, and we will loose the feeling of beginning and end, and understand that we are following infinity. The creation of a perception of infinity in a limited space is one of the main design, ideological, and ritualistic features of khachkar composition. The khachkars are open-air, approachable, observable from close up, and touchable steles. And the semblance of infinity lends obvious mystery to the khachkar.