The Georgian Churches of Oski and Iskhani: Architecture and Ornament

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This study deals with the churches of Oski and Iskhani, in the ancient Georgian province of Tao-Klardeti, now in eastern Turkey. Each church is examined separately, with a focus on the architecture and carved decoration. The architectural sculpture includes the decorative layout of the facades, and the ornamentation of the windows, portals, gallery and porch. This reveals the fusion of antique elements, inherited from the East Byzantine provinces, with Sassanian and Islamic motifs penetrating through contact with the Abbasid world. These churches were erected by the Bagratid princes in the early years of the 11th century and their construction reflects a fascinating blend of the influence of the Macedonian 'Renaissance' from the Byzantine empire and the Abbasid fashions that had spread through the Mediterranean world at this period.