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Gareja, Bertubani Monastery, Murals of the Martyrium

Building: Gareja, Bertubani Monastery, Martyrium
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)


East and west walls, and partly the ceiling, are plastered in the interior of the martyrium; the front wall of the coffin is also covered with plaster.

Painting is represented on the east and north walls of the martyrium.


The Nich-Chancel

There is an image of the Virgin Hodegetria with the Child in the left hand depicted in the niche of the east wall. The inner face of the niche is decorated with a floral ornament (these images belong to the second layer of the painting). Nothing is known about the original painting of the chancel. On the east wall a flourishing cross of oblong proportions mounted on a stepped pedestal is painted in reddish-brownish on each side of the niche-chancel.

The upper half of the north wall, above the coffin, is framed with a red line on three sides. A blue semi-circular segment is depicted on the vertical lines of the frame. Four arms with red crosses extend from each segment.

A cross mounted on a pedestal is depicted with the same color in the western section of the north wall, while the eastern section has preserved the lower part of a figure dressed in church vestment.

A reddish-brown band ran around the front wall of the coffin too.


Guram Abramishvili, “The painting of Bertubani Martirium”, in Maria Stella Calo’Mariani ed., L’arte georgiana dal IX al XIV secolo, Atti del Terzo simposio internazionale sull’arte georgiana, Bari, Lecce, 14–18 ottobre 1980 [Collana di saggi e testi. Sezione sesta, Storia dell’arte: III] I (Galatina, 1986), 199–203, pl. CXIX–CXXX.

Guram Abramishvili, “Bert’ubnis samartvilis mokhatuloba” [“Murals of the Bertubani Martyrium”], Spek’tri 1 (1998): 52–7.

Zaza Skhirtladze, “Martyrs and Martyria in the Gareja Desert”, in Michel Kaplan ed., Monasteres, images, pouvoirs et societe a Byzance [Byzantina Sorbonensia: 23] (Paris, 2006), 65–7, fig. 3–6.