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Imaging and Imagining Avarayr: Visualizing Armenian History in Early Modern Vaspurakan

September 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

About the Event: 

Armenian collective consciousness is saturated with images of the Battle of Avarayr (451 AD). Vardan Mamikonyan and his martyred soldiers have materialized over the last century as statues, tattoos, book covers, t-shirts, etc. But this is not how the cult of Vardanants began. In this talk, Piñon examines the battle as it was first visualized—from the historical record, to spiritual poem (sharakan), to an image within an illuminated sharaknots. By adding a visual and ritual dimension to the battle we can begin to understand how Armenian historical narratives of the fifth century were imagined, copied, and remembered in the late-medieval and early modern periods—nearly a millennium after the events they illustrate.

The discussion will address the following questions:

  • What exactly happens to a history when it changes medium—when it is sung, seen, or performed?
  • Does it establish a different historical memory than the one it sought to commemorate?
  • How far does the image distance us from the realities of the battle outcome? 
  • What purposes do these images serve today?

About the Speaker: 

Erin Piñon is a doctoral student in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. Her work focuses on the visual and material culture of late-medieval and early modern Armenia, with a focus on illuminated manuscripts and early printed materials.
Pinon’s summer 2019 research is partially funded by the American Research Institute for the South Caucasus.
Language: English 



September 6
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


General Education


308E, PAB
Baghramyan 40
Yerevan, Armenia
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