Redefining an Ancient Armenian Vessel

The image before us captures a vessel dating back 4,000 years, unearthed from Yelpin village (Vaiq). The vessel’s surface boasts an intriguing design: a square interlaced with patterns resembling water waves.

Ancient Armenia has long associated the square or rectangle shape, along with the numerals 4 and 40, with the god Vahagn. Evidence of this symbolic link can be traced back to the Syunik petroglyphs, etched during the Upper Paleolithic era, and further affirmed by Sumerian sources. Remarkably, even as Armenia transitioned into the medieval Christian era, remnants of this ancient connection persisted. For instance, Nerses Shnoralu’s emphasis on venerating every square draws inspiration from this age-old tradition.

The Sumerians, delving deeper into this symbolism, referred to the square adorned by the watery waves of the Elpin vessel as AS.KANA — their term for a “perfect garden” or “Eden”. This nomenclature parallels the Armenian as-kana, where “as” signifies “ripe” or “perfect”, and “kana” translates to “vineyard”.

In Sumerian lore, this emblematic square represented the divine dwelling of the God Ea=Hay=Vahagn. On terrestrial terms, this was equated to Armenia or Eden. Astronomically, it was the square framed by Pegasus’ four stars, nestled between Pisces’ twin fish. In mythic underworld narratives, it denoted the Apricot Sea.

Delving into the etymology, the Armenian descriptor Askanaz(ean) — which means “the nation of the perfect garden” or “the nation of Eden” — merges the terms askana and azn (signifying “nation” or “tribe”). Thus, the tribal name Askanaz-ian can be deciphered as the “Nation of Eden”, a title predating even the ancient vessel from Elpin.

Source: H. Martirosyan, “Pages of Armenian Ancient History”, 2011, p. 76-78.

Based on status: Levan Tonaganyan Հայաստան Armenia Армения

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