Hayastan: hamaynagitakan Hayastan (Armenia: Encyclopedic Armenia)
A cartographic celebration of Armenia and Armenian culture.
Tradition traces the history of Armenia back over 4,000 years to the battle of legendary founder Hayk against the Babylonian god of war, Belus. Although the actual historical facts may be lost, the Armenian people carry a strong sense of this history and identity related to the ancient traditions of their nation.
In 1930, the Armenian people were reeling from recent traumas like the Ottoman genocide and Armenia’s absorption into Stalin’s Soviet Union. With their native lands under either Turkish or Soviet rule, Armenian identity could only be celebrated by those who had fled their homes to the relative safety of welcoming nations. Paris became a center of this diaspora, and this map, with its detailed attention to Armenian history and culture, is a product of that diaspora.
At the center of the work is a map of Soviet-era Armenia. Surrounding it are detailed notes, diagrams, and depictions of Armenian culture. Closest to the map are charts, images of native fauna, and natural features. Surrounding those details are a set of illustrations of important Armenian buildings. And outside this set of images are an extensive set of notes running across the top, bottom, and sides, with smaller inset maps in each corner.
On the whole, the map provides an almost encyclopedic description of Armenia.
This map is the work of Hovannes K. Babessian, a cartographer and writer exiled from his home and then living near Paris in the town of Choisy-le-Roi. Babessian also published an Armenian work, Achkharhakroutioun Hayasdan (Paris, 1933). Later in life, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where another significant Armenian community developed. Babessian eventually followed this map with his 1954 Historical Atlas of Armenia.
Very rare; we find only two institutional examples: the University of Leiden Library & the David Rumsey Map Collection (13289.000).
Expertly backed with archival paper, with minor infill. Repaired upper right corner.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a prominent Armenian-American Family.