(from Armenian Khatch, "cross", + k'ar, "stone") A Cross-stone, also sometime printed Khatchkar, a native tradition of Armenia dating back at least to the 8th/9th century, used variously as markers for graves and sacred places and as decorative art in churches.

The original cross-stones were simple stone pillars, decorated with a cross and simple floral patterns. Soon artists began including figures. Early examples depict the stone's sponsor, a small figure, dressed as hunter in the native tradition, beneath the cross. Soon, religious figures were included; images of Christ, Mary, and St. John the Baptist, in the Byzantine style. By the 12th century, they often already included ever larger pictures of saints and sponsors, often with Christ himself on the cross. The decoration became more involved as well, including complex floral patterns and geometric interlacing. Inscriptions were then placed on the stone, naming the saints, the sponsor, and, most importantly, in the true iconographic tradition, the stone itself. Thus, a famous monastery stone depicting Christ and all the saints is called "All Saints".

The ever-closer similarity to icons, with the naming and involved narrative depictions, drew the stones into that particular controversy. Armenia never issued edicts against icons, but back-lashes sporadically led to their disuse. They continue to be made, in similar form, today, though used much less frequently.

p.s. heehee...the first page a google search brought up for these things was a course description from the University of Chicago. God, I'm going to miss this place

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