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The Problem of the
Identification of the Mysterious Statue from the Erzerum Museum

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1 Kavtaradze 1999, 65, fig. 1-4.

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35
3 . 2006, 86-103.

4 Kavtaradze 1996, 215, Anm. 50.

5 Rohrbach 1919, 11.

6 Kavtaradze 1999, 65, fig. 5-6.

7 1907, passim.

8 Marr 1907, 20, . 15.

9 Strzygowski 1918, 432, Anm.2.

10 Sinclair 1987, 363-365.

11 Strzygowski 1918, 432, 706.

12 Strzygowski 1918, 72, 431.

13 Strzygowski 1918, 431-432, Abb. 471.

14 Marr 1939, 109.

15 . Strzygowski 1918, 822, Abb. 773.

16 . Strzygowski 1918, 431-432.

17 Schmit 1908, 282; . 1939, 119-120; Sinclair 1987, 364-365.

18 Strzygowski 1918, 57.

19 1973, 465-466; 1981, 84,


.10; 1996, 123.

20 1981, 80.

21 1963, 121.

22 Tucker 1992, 607-608.

23 . 1934, 108, . XXVII, . 91.

24 Hovannisian 1996, 17, 277.

36
25 Hovannisian 1996a, 264, 289; Somakian 1995, 235-236.

26 Sinclair 1987, 364.

ABOUT THE STATUE OF GAGIK I, KING OF ANI


Summary

At the exhibition at the Erzerum Museum (Turkey, Eastern


Anatolia) the fragment of a stone statue (h ca. 1,5; w ca. 0,7),
which seems to represent a king or ruler, attracts the attention of
visitors and must have been carved of red-brown stone, though the
back of the statue is pinkish.

In the opinion of the Turkish archaeologists, the statue belongs


to the Neoassyrian period. On the other hand, in the view of German
specialists, the statue of the Erzerum museum is of the Parthian or
Achaemenian type. The difference of opinion is mainly caused by the
fragmentary character of the statue: only the left half of the torso, the
left arm and part of the beard are survived.

We think that the problem of its attribution can be solved only


on the basis of the native, East Anatolian-South Transcaucasian, data.
An identical copy made of the pink stone, if not the same sculpture,
which seems to be most plausible, can be traced among the findings
of Ani excavations (near Kars, on the shores of Arpa-ay) which took
place in 1906 and were conducted by the famous linguist, Niko Marr.
I bear in mind the stone statue of the Armenian, Bagratid, king, Gagik
I (989-1020), detected at the time of the excavations of the round plan
church of St. Gregory Gagikashen. Under the rule of Gagik I Ani
and its kingdom had a golden age in which architecture, literature and
intellectual-spiritual life had their heyday.

The statue of Gagik I was found 4 m north of the church, the


model of which king carried with his stretched out hands and which
was designed to imitate the mid-seventh century church at Zvartnots
(near Yerevan). The church was decorated with sculptures already at
the time of Gagik I. The statue is especially remarkable for the period
37
of transitivity from the relief to the round sculpture in Transcaucasian
art.

The fact that Gagik I built his church as an imitation to the St.
Gregory church of the Zwartnotz which was built by the
Chalkedonically minded Armenian catholikos of the seventh century,
Nerses II (and therefore it repeated the architectural details
characteristic of the Chalkedonical parish), indicates the existence of
the strong Orthodox-Chlakedonian influences in the kingdom of
Gagik I. In addition to the immense political and cultural influence of
the Byzantine Empire in East Anatolian-West Transcaucasian area,
the existence of the numerous Georgian-Orthodox populations in the
Ani kingdom must be taken into account as well. In the inscription of
Gagik's wife, queen Katramirde, from the Ani cathedral which was
built simultaneously with the St. Gregory church, Gagik is mentioned
as Shahinshah of Armenians and Georgians. The St. Gregory church
fell down soon after its completion; it seems to have never been very
stable and the strengthening of the walls and columns was carried out,
but without success; already before its final collapse the church was
nearly empty: all valuables had been taken out.

69 fragments of the statue of Gagik I (the height of 3,5 m) were


put together with 20 pieces of the model of the church by the artist S.
N. Poltoratski, the member of N. Marrs excavation team. After its
restoration the statue was placed in the museum of Ani which was
arranged by the Russian administration in the building of the former
Turkish mosque. There are also restoration signs on a fragment of
statue at the Erzurum museum: the fragment represented there was
obviously connected by a metallic pin with another lacking part.

In N. Marrs opinion, the comparison with the image of the


founder on the gable of the Akhpat church (near the eastern part of the
Armenian-Georgian border) makes it possible to consider the dress of
Gagik (the robe with wide sleeves and turban) as customary for
Armenians. But we think that the oriental dress of the Armenian king,
as well as his Iranian tide Shahinshah must have been the
reflection of his anti-Byzantine feelings. Exactly the Byzantine
Empire abolished Ani Kingdom after forty-five years.

38
How and when did the statue of Gagik come into the exhibition
of the Erzerum museum? We only know without doubt that the statue
was discovered, as it was mentioned above, in Ani, at 1906, and that it
was recorded in the Erzerum museum. Because of the fragmentary
character of the statue and of the great number of the folds on its left
sleeve which obviously seem to be a lion's mane or a fish-scale, it was
at the time of its second detection misinterpreted as a sculpture of a
lion or a fish. There are signs that the sculpture was situated in a
watery place for years, maybe this is the reason why its polychrome
painting did not survive and the primarily pink colour of it (now
retained on the unfinished back side) was changed to the red-brown.

About the fate of the statue after its primary discovery and its
disposition in Ani museum we can only guess. According to
specialists statements the statue disappeared. At the same time, a
noted scholar, Iosif Orbeli, the member of N. Marr's team, reports that
after the decomposition of the Russian front-line of World War I and
the approach of the Turkish forces, the statue of the king was buried
in the earth. This information seems more preferable than the one
which tells us that the statue together with other findings of the Ani
expedition were taken by the Russians in the late 1910s from Ani to
Yerevan and that the statue is now in Yerevan. It is plausible that the
creators of the second information have in mind its / . 29/
counterpart made by S. Poltoratski.

We can only hope that in the store-rooms of the East Anatolian


museums it would be possible to detect some of the lacking parts of
the above discussed statue.


1. 1996 = . .


, -

39

, II. , 1996.
2. 1973 = .
. , , . I, 1973.
3. 2006 = . .
-
, -
-
, XII.
70
.

. , 2006.
4. 1981 = , . .

(VIVII X .). 2-
, III. , 1981.
5. 1907 = , . .
1906 ., - -
, X. .-, 1907.
6. 1934 = , . . :
. -, 1934.
7. 1939 = , . . . , 1939.
8. 1963 = , . . ,
- . , 1963.
9. Hovannisian 1996 = R. G. Hovannisian. The Republic of
Armenia, vol. III. From London to Svres, February-August
1920. Berkeley, Los Angeles & London; University of
California Press, 1996.
10. Hovannisian 1996a = R. G. Hovannisian. The Republic of
Armenia, vol. IV. Between Crescent and Sickle: Partition and
Sovetization. Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of
California Press, 1996.
11. Kavtaradze 1996 = G. L. Kavtaradze. Probleme der
historischen Geographie Anatoliens und Transkaukasiens im

40
ersten Jahrtausend v. Chr., Orbis Terrarum, Internationale
Zeitschrift fr Historische Geographie der Alten Welt, 2, 1996.
12. Kavtaradze 1999 = G. L. Kavtaradze. The Problem of the
Identification of the Mysterious Statue from the Erzerum
Museum, Caucasica, vol. 3, 1999.
13. Rohrbach 1919 = P. Rohrbach. Geschichtlicher berblick,
Armenien, Beitrge zur armenischen Landes-und Volkskunde.
Rohrbach, P. (ed.). Stuttgart, 1919.
14. Schmit 1908 = Th. Schmit (Review) - N. Marr,
Ausgrabungen und Arbeiten in Ani im Sommer 1906.
Byzantinische Zeitschrifl, B. 17. Leipzig, 1908.
15. Sinclair 1987 = A. Sinclair. Eastern Turkey: an
architectural and archaeological survey, vol. I. London, 1987.
16. Somakian 1995 = M. G. Somakian. Empires in Conflict:
Armenia and the Great Powers, 1895-1920. London & New
York: Tauris Publishers, 1995.
17. Strzygowski 1918 = J. Strzygowski. Die Baukunst der
Armenier und Europa. Ergebnisse einer vom kunsthistorischen
Institute der Universitt Wien 1913 durchgefhrten
Forschungsreise. Wien 1918.
18. Tucker 1992 = A. Tucker (ed.). The Berlitz Travellers
Guide to Turkey 1992. New Haven & Oxford, 1992.

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