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Getty and Armenian Church Settle Ownership Dispute Over 13th-Century Manuscript Pages

One of the pages.COURTESY J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM VIA THE NEW YORK TIMES

One of the pages.

COURTESY J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM

The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America have resolved a dispute over the rightful ownership of eight 13th-century manuscript pages, which were separated from the Zeyt’un Gospels and have been in the Getty’s collection since 1994. Under the settlement, according to a release sent out by the museum this afternoon, the Getty has acknowledged that the Armenian Apostolic Church is the rightful owner of the pages. In exchange, the Prelacy has donated the pages to the Getty “in order to ensure their preservation and widespread exhibition.”

The Getty originally purchased the pages for $1 million, according to the New York Times. The Zeyt’un Gospels are the earliest signed work of T’oros Roslin, “the most accomplished illuminator and scribe in Armenia in the 1200s,” in the words of the museum.

Lee Crawford Boyd, a representative of the Prelacy, said in a statement: “This is a momentous occasion for the Armenian people, coming at a historic time, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. I want to thank the Getty for joining in a solution that recognizes the historical suffering of the Armenian people and that will also allow this Armenian treasure to remain in the museum which has cared for it and made it available to the Armenian and larger community in Los Angeles. We are pleased that both sides arrived at an amicable solution[.]”

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