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Atsi, Murals of the Church of Holy Archangels

Building: Atsi, Church of Holy Archangels ("Taringzel")
Layer of the Murals: One Layer
Date/Period: 10th c.
Donor(s): Unknown
Painter(s): Unknown
Building Gallery


of the Donor(s)
of the Painter(s)


The interior is completely painted. The chancel screen is decorated with painting as well.



Christ in Majesty is depicted in the conch. The composition is distributed in an unusual way: the half-length figure of the Savior with the blessing right hand and an open codex (only – ႦჂ|ႥჂ is legible out of the multi-line inscription) is depicted above the window. Full-length figures of saint archangels (with their right palms in front and left hands on their hearts) are represented on both sides of Christ (along His shoulders); they are represented on the level of both registres and also occupy the areas adjacent to the lower section of the window. A seraph (north) and a tetramorph (south) are depicted below Christ’s half-length figure, on two sides of the window in the lower registre. The composition is represented against the flame-colored background; the face of the background is patterned – double white circles with four dots painted inside each. A similar background is used in the hall of the church near the scenes and figures depicted on the south and west walls.


Chancel Screen

The three-span chancel screen and the triumphal arch are completely covered with large uniform floral ornaments.



Equestrian figures of St. George and St Theodore facing each other are depicted on the southern side of the vault and the first registre of the wall (lower part of the composition has preserved fragmentary images of Diocletian and a dragon); the second registre has a three-figure scene of Jesus Laid in the Tomb.

The west wall represents church fathers. There are two frontal figures of holy bishops on the north of the window and one – on the south; the full-length figures of the church fathers are depicted with the blessing right hand and a closed book.

The north wall is completely occupied by the multi-figure composition of the Ascension.


Nicole Thierry, “Notes d’un second voyage en Haute Svanétie (Géorgie)”, Bedi Kartlisa (1980): 38, pl. 5.

Tat’jana Shevjakova, Monumental’naja zhivopis’ rannego srednevekov’ja Gruzii [The Monumental Painting of the Early Medieval Georgia] (Tbilisi, 1983), 18–20.

Natela Aladashvili, Gajane Alibegashvili, Aneli Vol’skaja, Zhivopisnaja shkola Svaneti [The Painting School of Svaneti] (Tbilisi, 1983), 19–23.

Rusudan Q’enia, Nat’ela Aladashvili, Zemo svanet’i (shua saukuneebis khelovneba). Gzamkvlevi [Upper Svaneti (Medieval Art). A Guidebook] [Sak’art’velos megzuri [Guide of Georgia]: 2] (Tbilisi, 2000), 63–4.

Marine Q’enia, “Gamosakhvis kherkhebi svanet’is adreul mokhatulobebshi (Laghamis k’veda eklesiis mokhatulobis magalit’ze)” [“Modes of Expression in Early Georgian Murals (On the Example of the Initial Mural Decoration in the Lagami Church of the Saviour)”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 9 (2006): 58–9.

Marine Q’enia, “Adreul k’art’ul mokhatuloba’ta programebis t’aviseburebat’a gamo” [“On the Pecularities of Programmes of Early Georgian Murals”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 11 (2007): 53–4.

Marine Q’enia, “Mkhatvrobis saert’o sistemis gadats’q’vetis t’aviseburebani adreuli khanis Svanet’is mokhatulobebshi” [“Pecularities of the General Arrangement of the Decoration System in Early Medieval Murals in Svaneti”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 12 (2008): 129–31.