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Discovery: The other door of the Nativity

Articles

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Abstract

Since the restoration works carried out in 2015-2018 have been completed, the wooden door which surrounds the passage from Narthex to nef from the basil of the Nativity in Bethlehem, hitherto hidden in part by scaffolding and old boards, is now accessible from the point of view, cleaned and consolidated. This unusually large composition reproduces, on the four panels in its upper register, the principle, present on other doors, of the wooden transposition of the Khatchkar model, an emblematic jack of medieval Armenia. Although heavily eroded, it offers a good example of Armenian sculpture to her medieval zeith. With three listings, two in Armenian and one in Arabic, dating from 1227, the ‘Holy Mother of God’ door, executed ‘with the help of Allah’ under the King of Armenian cilician Hethoum Ier and the Sultan of Damascus al-Malik Al-Mua’Azzam, is a remarkable testimony of Arab-Arab and Islamic Christian dialogue.

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