Jesus or Mary? Figure on the left of the Coronation Trams of King Levon the First

Since these coins first appeared over 800 years ago, the image on the left has caused much discussion. Is this the image of the Virgin Mary with a Maphorion hood and Orans hand position? Or is this the image of Christ? Is this from King Levon I or a beardless King Levon III. This article will add another dimension to the discussion which will show why this is the image of Christ.

This is not a new conversation in Armenian numismatic circles. In an article, Dickran Kouymajian gives his reasoning why the image is the Virgin Mary. Bedoukian and Nercessian believed the image to be Christ.

A recent coronation tram reveals hair on Jesus as opposed to the Maphorion cloaking Christ’s head, with hair striations cut in the coin visible on the side with some magnification. Many of the coronation trams are worn and hair is not shown (note the flat head). I believe this presentation is a unique example for the case that this is Christ.

Below are additions to the article as a preview.

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coronation haircoronation hair 3

12th century French Mosaic with Christ in Orans position,

12th Century Mosaic of Christ from Sicily, without the cross image in circle surrounding His head.


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