Title Page of the Gospel of John

Illuminator: Sargis (active early 14th century)

Object Name: Illustrated manuscript

Date: 1300–1310

Geography: Made in Armenia, Siwnik

Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

Dimensions: Page: H. 12 1/2 in. (31.7 cm)
W. 9 1/4 in. (23.5cm)
Mat: H. 19 3/16 in. (48.7 cm)
W. 14 5/16 in. (36.4 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1938

Accession Number: 38.171.2


This richly decorated leaf emphasizes the Gospel of John as the summation of the four Gospels by including the symbols of the four evangelists—an angel for Saint Matthew, a lion for Saint Mark, an ox for Saint Luke, an eagle for Saint John—in the large first letter, or incipit, and in the elaborate headpiece over the text. Byzantine-style geometric patterns fill the rest of the incipit. Bird-shaped letters form the first words of the text. At the top is Christ, framed by peacocks, who raises his hand in blessing. Early Armenian theologians described birds as representing souls flying to heaven.