Illustrated pages from a 12th century Armenian manuscript

Art History Professor’s Book Honored by Armenian Studies Group

Art history professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh recently received the Der Mugrdechian Book Award from the Society for Armenian Studies for The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice.

In her book, Watenpaugh reconstructs the journey of illustrated pages of the Zeytun Gospel from their creation in 1256 in present-day Turkey to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 1994. Through an analysis of the biography of the manuscript, she tells the larger story of the Armenians and the suffering they endured during the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. During her research, she traveled to many of the places the manuscript had been.

“That this award comes from the Society for Armenian Studies is deeply meaningful, as the members of the society know firsthand the challenges and obstacles of researching Armenian topics,” Watenpaugh said. “To me, this award celebrates Armenian art history in general, and the wonderful exhibitions and books on Armenian art that have appeared in the last couple of years. I hope this award inspires people to discover and rediscover medieval Armenian art, its astonishing beauty and continued contemporary relevance.”

Established in 2015, the Der Mugrdechian SAS Outstanding Book Award accepts nominations for works that advance knowledge and scholarship on Armenian society, culture and history from ancient times to the present. Barlow Der Mugrdechian, director of the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, and a past president of SAS, sponsored the award.

The Missing Pages was published by Stanford University Press in early 2019.

Read an interview with Watenpaugh.

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