A rare 12-13th-century child’s garment from the medieval Armenian capital, Ani

A rare 12-13th-century child’s garment from the medieval Armenian capital, Ani

The History Museum of Armenia houses an early exhibit presenting the Armenian national costume, originally worn by a child. This children’s outerwear, dating back to the 12th-13th century, hails from Ani, the former capital strategically situated at a crucial juncture of trade routes linking the East and the West, specifically positioned on the Silk Road between China and Europe.
The garment, designed for a young girl, was found in Tsaghkotsadzor in 1908 within a cave tomb associated with the affluent Tigran Honents family. Crafted from thick, single-colored silk, the attire is adorned with gold thread embroidery on the collar and cuffs. This garment is attributed to a 5-6-year-old child.
Tigran Honents, a prosperous Armenian merchant during the early 13th century in the Zakarid period, is celebrated for his patronage of the Church of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents in Ani, constructed in 1215.
Ani, positioned on a triangular site surrounded by deep canyons, features man-made caves attributed to a range of purposes, including funerary chambers. Notably, the aforementioned garment was unearthed within the Tsaghkotsadzor Canyon.
The extensive historical significance of this display is accentuated by Tigran Honents’ influence on the cultural and architectural heritage of Ani, as demonstrated through the intricate tomb adorned with numerous murals and Armenian inscriptions. These elements reflect the enduring impact of the merchant on the cultural landscape of the location.
It’s worth mentioning that from 961 to 1045, Ani served as the capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom, which encompassed a significant portion of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Known as the “City of 1,001 Churches,” this iconic city was celebrated for its grandeur. Renowned for its splendor, Ani was sacked by the Mongols in 1236.

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