Hayastan: hamaynagitakan Hayastan (Armenia: Encyclopedic Armenia)
A cartographic celebration of Armenia and Armenian culture.
Legend 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 true 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, reeling from recent traumas like the Ottoman genocide and Armenia’s absorption into Stalin’s Soviet Union, and 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 Armenia. Surrounding it are detailed notes, diagrams, and depictions of Armenian culture. Closest to the map are a series of diagrams and images of native fauna, and natural features. Surrounding those details, are a set of images of Armenian buildings of note. And outside of 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.
The map is the work of the 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 would move to Los Angeles, California, where another significant Armenian community developed. Babessian would eventually follow this map with his 1954 Historical Atlas of Armenia.
Expertly backed with archival paper, with minor infill. Upper right corner is chipped.
PROVENANCE: Collection of a prominent Armenian-American Family.
Very rare; we find only two institutional examples: University of Leiden Library & the David Rumsey Map Collection (13289.000).