The Khakhuli Dome Decoration: Eschatological and Historical Context
This paper aims to trace the complexity of the decorative programme depicted in the dome of the main church at the monastery of Khakhuli. The iconography of the Apparition of the Cross, carrying triumphal and eschatological connotations, is set in a historical context that remembers the fulfilment of the Conversion of Kartli. The Ascension of the Prophet Elijah presented alongside the Vision of the Cross in the dome at Khakhuli alludes to one of the most precious relics kept in Georgia – Elijah's mantle buried in Svet'itskhoveli together with the "unwoven Chiton" of Christ. This allusion to the former capital of Kartli, the "new Jerusalem" of Georgia, has both symbolic and political meanings at Khakhuli, as it demonstrates the spiritual unity of Georgia at that time and anticipates ideas of its political unification. The reference to one of the most important Old Testament relics, which was considered a 'palladium' of medieval Georgia, may also reflect the political aspirations of the Georgian ruler vis-à-vis his counterpart in the neighbouring Byzantine Empire.
Dr. Ekaterine Gedevanishvili is a senior researcher at the Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation. She obtained her PhD in Art History in 2004. Eka Gedevanishvili is specialized in medieval Georgian wall paintings and icons. At present, she runs a multidisciplinary project that aims to prepare a monograph dedicated to the 'Cult of the Holy Warriors in Georgia'. She is a longtime collaborator of the KHI, especially regarding the "Georgian Project". In 2019, Eka Gedevanishvili directed the Summer school 'Tao-Klarjeti' in collaboration with the KHI, and the Universities of Freiburg and Basel. She has participated in many international conferences and congresses and has been published on medieval Georgian art intensively.
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