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Ipkhi, Murals of Church of St. George. First Layer

Building: Ipkhi, Church of St. George (“Jgrag”)
Layer of the Murals: First Layer
Date/Period: 10th c.
Donor(s): Unknown
Painter(s): Unknown
Building Gallery


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


The interior and the chancel screen are fully decorated with murals; the badly sooted painting was cleaned in 2019 and the images became clearer.



The composition of the Deesis is distributed asymmetrically in two registres in the narrow and tall chancel apse. The figure of enthroned Christ occupies the conch, while the Virgin and St. John the Baptist, and two archangels are depicted lower, on different levels on two sides of the window. Enthroned Christ is represented with the right hand raised in blessing and an open codex. Full-length figures of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist are represented immediately next to the chancel window, north and south of it with their hands raised towards the Savior in supplication. The edges of the registres have figures of saint archangels whose waving wings reach the conch.


Chancel Screen

The entablement of the three-span chancel screen is decorated with a large floral ornament which also runs along the triumphal arch of the chancel.



The whole area of the west wall is dedicated to the multifigure scene of the Ascension. The upper part shows two angels raising Christ into heaven; images of the apostles on the level of the second registreare hardly discernable.

There are heraldic representations of the holy riders – St. George and St. Theodore – killing Diocletian and a dragon, respectively – on the southern panel of the vault (in the first registre). The lower registre of the south wall is occupied by church fathers. Around the window and the door saint bishops are distributed as follows: one full-length figure is depicted on the area between the wall and the window in the eastern section, while half-length figures of three saints are depicted on a small area.

An expanded composition of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is laid out on the northern panel of the vault (the first registre). The second registreis totally dedicated to the multifigure scene of the Dormition. The registres are marked off by a narrow red band.


Tatiana Sheviakova, “Sop. Ipkhis (zemo svanet’i) makhloblad mdebare ts’minda giorgis (jgrag) eklesiis mkhatvrobis tarighis sakit’khisat’vis” [“Concerning the Dating of the Murals in the Saint George (Jgrag) Church near the Ipkhi Village (Upper Svanet’i)”], Sak’art’velos metsnierebat’a akademiis moambe [Bulletin of the Georgian Academy of Sciences] XXX, №6 (1963): 829–36.

Nicole Thierry, “Notes d’un second voyage en Haunte–Svanétie (Géorgie)”, Bedi Kartlisa XXXVIII (1980): 58–60, 79–82.

Natela Aladashvili, Gajane Alibegashvili, Aneli Volskaja, ZhivopisnajasShkola Svaneti [The Painting School of Svaneti] (Tbilisi, 1983), 23–7.

Tat’jana Shevjakova, Monumental’naja zhivopis’ rannego srednevekov’ja Gruzii [The Monumental Painting of the Early Medieval Georgia] (Tbilisi, 1983), 20–2, pl. 72–80.

Natela Aladashvili, “Kompozitcia altarnoj konkhi v tserkvakh svanet’i” [“Chancel Conch Compositions in the Svaneti Churches”], IV Mezhdunarodnij simpozium po gruzinskomu iskusstvu [IV International Symposium on Georgian Art] (Tbilisi, 1983), 5–7.

Rusudan Q’enia, Nat’ela Aladashvili, Zemo Svanet’i (shua saukuneebis khelovneba). Gzamkvlevi [Medieval Art of Upper Svaneti: A Guidebook] Sak’art’velos megzuri (Guide of Georgia) 2] (Tbilisi, 2000), 86–7.

Marine Q’enia, “Adreul k’art’ul mokhatuloba’ta programebis t’aviseburebat’a gamo” [“On the Pecularities of Programmes in Early Georgian Murals”], Sak’art’velos Sidzveleni [Georgian Antiquities] 11 (2007): 54–5.

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): 131–4.