~ By Barlow Der Mugrdechian

Dr. Levon Chookaszian, UNESCO chair of Art History, Yerevan State University, will present an illustrated lecture on “The Silk Road and Armenian Textiles Throughout the Centuries” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2017 Lecture Series and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation.

The archaeological evidence of the involvement of Armenia in the developing system of pan-Asian exchange of goods can be traced to the 3rd millennium B.C. Goods destined for the Near East from Central and South-Eastern Asia passed through Armenia to be taken to western Asia Minor, the Balkans, and the North Caucasian passes and beyond. These routes served as the beginning of the Great Silk Road.

The “opening” of the road in the 130s BC after the successful mission of Chan Tsiang — the ambassador of the Chinese Emperor to the palace of Parthian monarchs — coincided with the period of political and economic rise of the Armenian Kingdom under Tigran the Great (95-55 BC).

One of the principal branches of the Silk Road stretches along the Ararat valley, through the current territory of the Republic of Armenia. Five historic capitals of Armenia, including Yerevan, are on this road. Silks and textiles were not only exported to Armenia but also produced inside of country.

The renowned Venetian Marco Polo was astounded by the beauty of Armenian carpets. We find that beauty on the canvases of Italian Renaissance painters and in the descriptions of the palaces of Khalid Al-Rashid. Images of these silks and textiles are preserved inside of the Armenian medieval manuscripts — but are as of now largely unstudied. Dr. Chookaszian will trace this history through the study of Armenian medieval manuscripts.

Dr. Levon Chookaszian is one of the leading authorities in the world on Armenian art. He is the author of two monographs: “The Art of the 13th century Armenian Painter Grigor Tsaghkogh” (1986), and the other on “Arshag Fetvadjian Masters and Treasures of Armenian Art” (2011). Chookaszian has taught at Yerevan State University since 1978 and is one of the founders of the department of art history. In 1996 he established the UNESCO Chair of Armenian Art History.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available, using parking code 273703 (use the code in kiosks in the parking area to receive the permit) at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center, Fresno State.

INFO: Armenian Studies Program at 559.278.2669 or visit www.fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.