Exactly one month ago, Yerevan, the city where I was born, received the title of World Book Capital. On this significant occasion and to celebrate the 500 Years of Armenian Printing, the Ministry of Culture and Yerevan City Hall have organized various cultural events all over the Yerevan. As for instance Granshan 2012 with exhibitions held in the hall of the House of Artists Union 14-16.06.12. I'm happy to take part in the festivities as I'm participating in TypoLyrics exhibition (with this work), organized by Magma Brand Design.
The first Armenian book to be printed with Gutenberg’s movable type was published in Venice five centuries ago this year. Titled “Urbatagirk” or the “Friday Book”, Hakob Meghapart’s trailblazing 124-page collection of prayers, cures for illnesses, and quotations from Gregory of Narek was released in Venice in 1512.
The Armenian alphabet in the 1486 German travelogue “Peregrinatio in terram sanctam”
But the appearance of the Armenian alphabet in a printed book predates this milestone by 26 years. This credit goes to a German travelogue on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, printed on June 21, 1486. Now, thanks to the digitization efforts of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Germany, the 526-year-old alphabet, along with its original transliteration, can be viewed by the public.
There is, however, an important distinction to be made between the alphabet and Meghapart’s work: the Armenian alphabet in the German book (unlike the printed book itself) was realized through an engraved woodcut block, not the printing press of Meghapart’s “Urbatagirk.” In other words, Meghapart remains the pioneer of Armenian printing."
some example of Armenian movable type and ornaments/borders (currently in a private collection in Istanbul)
the letters on the last picture seemed familiar to me and by looking closely I've discovered that they are similar to the wood type (picture below) recently added to the MIAT collection.
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Monastero di San Lazzaro degli Armeni
Armenian type specimen (via DIgilib)
"Operating since 1999, AUA Digital Library of Classical Armenian Literature has been established as a platform for the collection, digitization, preservation and presentation to worldwide audiences some of the enormous cultural wealth contained in the rich holdings of the Armenian national repositories all over the world."
Armenian punches at the Enschedé museum