Armenian and Jewish artifacts are displayed side-by-side in a new exhibit — a testament to one collector’s love of history. Showcasing 31 individual items or groupings, the display can be seen Nov.1-Jan. 15 at the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum, located on the campus of the Armenian Cultural Complex in Southfield, Detroit Jewish News reports.
The collection belongs to real-estate developer James Melikian, who majored in history years ago at Arizona State University and maintains a strong commitment to the subject central to his academic pursuits.
A big fascination is artifacts, many reaching back to ancient times. He believes they give an authentic and beautiful sense of cultural roots, a belief he shares with his wife, Ana.
In 2004, Melikian decided he wanted to become a collector and contacted antiquities dealers. He came across some early printings of Armenian books and bought them to have artifacts relevant to his own Christian heritage. So satisfied with that acquisition, he sought more through many dealers and web-auction outlets, always consulting experts before making a purchase.
As his search expanded, Melikian came across artifacts from other religions, found them fascinating as well and made additions to his holdings, now reaching 4,000 items. As a real-estate developer, he is never satisfied with a limited number of places and so began showing his artifacts in many places near and far.
For the first time, Melikian is giving almost equal attention to items representing the faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Judaism through an exhibit, “The Melikian Collection: Celebrating & Preserving Our Cultures.”
Armenian artifacts include a white marble Armenian church cornerstone, an Armenian silver chalice dated 1642 and the second Bible printed in Armenian.