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The typology and Chronology of Khachkar
Khachkars of the 12-14th centuries
The end of the 12th century marked several essential changes in khachkar culture. These changes are characterized by new architectural, iconographical and ideological points of emphasizes. The usage of various pedestals, chapel-like structures, complicated wall enclosures and diverse cornices became frequent. The carving of images and the placement of smaller crosses in parallel with the central cross in different parts of the composition (vertical elements of palmette decor, cornice, edge-belt etc.) became widespread. Two new types of vertical palmette decor formed: crowning of the plant bases with snakebird attachments and transformation of vertical elements of palmette decor into cross-bearing hands. The encirclement in niche, consisting of round elements of corresponding to doubling of wings of the central cross, was novice, due to this khachkar became similar to reliquary. Starting from the 12th century the khachkar becomes one of the main elements of a medieval graveyard. It was placed on the eastern edge of a plain or gable roofed gravestone, on a high pedestal so that the gaze of the dead would be directed toward the cross. As a result of the diffusion of dynastical graveyards, group khachkars begin to appear. The wall enclosed khachkars received unprecedented diffusion in 13th century. The creation of more accessible and comfortable conditions for rituals and worship due to "architecturalization" of the khachkar attests to the broadening of the ritual features of the khachkar. The biggest achievement of this time is that khachkar became both as multifunctional as and individualized which, up to the second quarter of the 14th century, stipulated the creation of a wide list of exceptional examples of art. Regional differences are becoming noticeable. The schools of Northern Armenia (Lori-Tashir), Aragatsotn-Kotayk, Artsakh, Javakhq, Vayots Dzor, Gegharquniq, Nakhijevan are emerging. At the same time, if certain types of khachkars were characteristic only for certain regions then, several types were characteristic for the whole country. Thus, if for Northern Armenia (Sanahin, Hakghpat, Hagharcin) it is characteristic to find compositions in which one part of the decoration has only geometrical and another part vegetative carvings, then another group mainly characteristic for regions of central Ayrarat, Tavush and Artsakh is divided by large and detailed carved rosette (or half rosette), decorated by vertical palmette decors transformed to bouquets, with depictions of saints and mortals. If Northern Armenia is the main territory for the origin and diffusion of so-called Amenaprkich ("all-saviors") khachkars that contain the themes of the Crucifixion, Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, then khachkars of Artsakh are distinguishing by the depiction of mortals, etc.
Starting from the mid-12th century, aside from the structure and compositional elements of the khachkar, two main styles of decoration are used. In one style the separate elements of the composition are carved detached from each other, as if they are "applied" on an undecorated background; in the second, the whole stele is covered with decor, as if rejecting the existence of the undecorated stele. The later is the most gentle and complicated form of khachkar carving; in order to ensure the clear perception of the composition, certain elements were separated from each other by multilayered carving. It is in this case that certain khachkars and their masters were receiving nationwide popularity. Winged khachkars had a certain diffusion; they were similar to winged crosses of early medieval khachkars in their volume, but had compositions that were characteristic to their time.

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Endangered Khachkars

Canadian Scholars Signed Petition on Issue of Destruction of Armenian Monuments in Nakhichevan
British House of Lords to Present Its Stand on Destruction of Armenian Khachkars
Azerbaijani Soldiers Destroy Armenian Khachkars in Nakhichevan
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