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The khachkar, or cross stone, is a distinctly Armenian art form. Initially, they served as emblems of salvation for the living and dead, but their meaning expanded in the twelfth century as they came to be used to commemorate military victories, important sites, and church construction, often with extensive inscriptions. Here geometric interlace patterns frame a large Latin cross surrounded by vegetal motifs above two similar but smaller crosses. The forward pitch of the crown offered a sense of protection to the medieval viewer. It is a stunning example of the intermediate period of khachkar design, when decorative schemes became more ornate and lacelike.

Khachkar, Tuff, Armenian

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