No Armenian Manuscript Sent For Restoration Abroad


DECEMBER 9, 2011

The restoration and preservation of ancient Armenian manuscripts –
the invaluable wealth of the Armenian people – are extremely important.

Armenpress news agency spoke with the Head of Restoration Department
of Matenadaran Gayane Eliazyan about the importance and difficulties
connected with the restoration process of the ancient manuscripts of
the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts.

– Mrs Eliazyan, how do you select the manuscripts, documents that
should be restored?

– It will be wrong to speak about concrete time in restoration
processes as manuscripts dating back to 5th century are being kept
in Matenadaran. Each manuscript is special and the selection is being
made with the united efforts of the staff. First the material is being
selected, brought to the department for restoration and preservation.

We highly rate the scientific restoration. In medieval times ignorant
people were restoring the works who were mainly concerned with the
preservation of the appearance and the issue was limited to it. Now the
issue is deeper and more serious. Preservation has become a serious and
deep science and it is necessary to know it, if not, the material will
be greatly harmed. Here it is necessary to follow the adopted rules.

– Are there relevant specialists in Armenia?

– We have a big privilege in this sphere – 52 years of experience,
though there is always a need of good specialists. The work we are
implementing is highly competitive though we do not have relevant
restoration school or university.

– What will you say about technical upgrading of Matenadaran?

– Previously the situation was rather sad, but fortunately, the
situation changed when the Government of Japan provided quite serious
devices to Matenadaran. Now though, there is a need of new ones. As
of the moment, we are going to sign agreements with a number of
well-known companies.

– Were there case when manuscripts have been sent abroad for

– There were no such cases. We are always trying to do it with our
own forces as there are a number of institutions which very often do
not want to take responsibility. And besides, there was not a case
when we harmed it.

– How many manuscripts kept in Matenadaran need to be restored?

– Matenadaran is not only a museum, it is a scientific-research
institute. All the manuscripts here are being studied, sent to
reading halls, digitalized. So, we always have materials that need
to be restored or treated. Restoration is incessant process.

– How much time is it necessary to restore a manuscript?

– It is difficult to say. We have just finished restoration of
well-known Gospel of Melitene of 1057. Four specialists worked on it
for 3 years. It depends on material, degree of damage.

From: A. Papazian

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