Armenian cross stones art, symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachqars

 

Khachkars are outdoor steles carved from stone by craftspeople in Armenia and communities in the Armenian diaspora. They act as a focal point for worship, as memorial stones and as relics facilitating communication between the secular and divine. Khachkars reach 1.5 metres in height, and have an ornamentally carved cross in the middle, resting on the symbol of a sun or wheel of eternity, accompanied by vegetative-geometric motifs, carvings of saints and animals.

Khachkars are created usually using local stone and carved using chisel, die, sharp pens and hammers. The carvings are then ground using fine sand. Among more than 50,000 Khachkars in Armenia, each has its own pattern, and no two are alike. Armenian art of Khachkars is transmitted from generation to generation and continuously recreated to satisfy the artist’s creativity, constituting a distinctive symbol of the identity of Armenian communities at home and abroad.

"Armenian cross stones art, symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachqars " in 2010 was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.



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