The Art and Architecture of the Kingdom of Georgia in the 10th and 11th Centuries

Irene Giviashvili

Oshki Monastery Church (963–973), looking east (Camliyamac, Turkey)

The main subject of this project is the art and architecture of the Kingdom of Georgia during its zenith (10th–11th century), shortly before and after the unification of Georgia. It is especially focused on the region of Tao in the southwest of the Kingdom (now within the Erzurum vilayet, Turkey), which, enclosed by the Islamic world and sharing borders with the Byzantine Empire, took a leading role in the Georgian cultural and political scene from the 10th century onwards. The Bagrationi King David III Curopalates (958–1001) shaped Georgian history with his diplomatic, military, political, economic, educational, and cultural achievements.

This research is largely concerned with ecclesiastical buildings in Tao that were constructed or renovated during David's reign (for example, Oshki, Khakhuli, Parkhali, Otkhta Eklesia, and Ishkhani). It will examine the extent to which their art and architecture were interconnected with the Byzantine world and other neighboring cultures, how it was reflected in the Islamic art of the newly arrived Seljuks, and the relationship with the Chalcedonian Armenians. The research aims to investigate also the scale and the boundaries of this heritage within the broader context of monastic foundations abroad, especially on Mount Athos. Another important aspect of the project will be devoted to portable art objects created in or related to Tao, notably the Khakhuli Triptych and other important relics. A general overview of earlier scholarship in this field will include accounts of early 20th century travelers and archaeologists, and discussion of relevant publications by Georgian, Turkish, Armenian, and western scholars.


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