The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are closed Thursday, March 5 due to inclement weather.
Home > Collections > Biblical Manuscripts
Portrait of Mark in a Gospel According to the Four Evangelists


Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on parchment
H: 24.4 W: 17.9 cm

Purchase F1944.17

Enlarge this image | Purchase this image

This eighteenth-century Armenian leather binding that encloses a mid-thirteenth-century Gospel is decorated with silver studs, now tarnished, in the form of a cross in the upper center. A pair of small silver plaques in the shape of the "evil eye" are set on either side. The crystal, with its cruciform grooves in the center, is particularly notable; it may have held a relic at one time, underscoring the power and importance attached to Gospel books in Armenian culture.