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Armenian cross-stones art.

A khachkar, also known as an Armenian cross-stone is a carved, memorial stele bearing a cross, and often with additional motifs such as rosettes, interlaces, and botanical motifs. Khachkars are characteristic of Medieval Christian Armenian art.

Since 2010, khachkars, their symbolism and craftsmanship are inscribed in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The most common khachkar feature is a cross surmounting a rosette or a solar disc. The remainder of the stone face is typically filled with elaborate patterns of leaves, grapes, pomegranates, and bands of interlace. Occasionally a khachkar is surmounted by a cornice sometimes containing biblical or saintly figures.

Most early khachkars were erected for the salvation of the soul of either a living or a deceased person. Otherwise they were intended to commemorate a military victory, the construction of a church, or as a form of protection from natural disasters.The most common location for early khachkars was in a graveyard.

The khachkar both stimulated and reflects the unique development of Armenian culture; it is one of the most characteristic symbols of Armenian identity.

It is particularly tragic that khachkars are also endangered in Armenia and Artsakh. They are disappearing, being damaged or moved.

Khachkars are created usually using local stone and carved using chisel, die, sharp pens and hammers. The carvings are then ground using fine sand. Small breaks and rough surfaces are eliminated by plaster of clay or lime, and then painted. Once finished, the Khachkar is erected during a small religious ceremony. After being blessed and anointed, the Khachkar is believed to possess holy powers and can provide help, protection, victory, long life, remembrance and mediation towards salvation of the soul. Among more than 50,000 Khachkars in Armenia, each has its own pattern, and no two are alike.

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Additional Photos by Piotr Fagasiewicz (PiotrF) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 5452 W: 2 N: 10591] (50080)
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