Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 4/2017
Renaissance grave textiles from Bardejov
The Basilica Minor of St. Egidius (Giles) in Bardejov is a national cultural monument located in the Bardejov Memorial Reservation Area. It is also registered in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. Slovakia’s Monuments Board-Prešov Regional Monuments Board led by archaeologist Petr Harcher carried out a rescue archaeological research in the basilica’s presbytery, before the floor restoration, in the season of 2008 to 2009. The tombs found in the church’s interior, which had existed there since the burials, managed to preserve the renaissance grave textile fragments, as well as complete findings, the importance of which exceeds not only the regional but also Slovak territory.
Thanks to the preservation of the findings, it is possible to reconstruct the overall appearance of the woman’s or girl’s garments from the modern times in the royal town of Bardejov, which was the place of busy trade on the border of Upper Hungary. Burial in the presbytery was a symbol of honour – the deceased therefore had to have a significant position in the city. Back then, the deceased were mostly buried in their new or best dresses. The dark or black colour was not the rule.
Out of the mentioned rare grave clothes or their fragments, in some cases with unspecified function, we believe the most valuable ones include the bodice (mid or beginning of the second half of the 17th century), corset (probably second half of the 17th century), also fragmentary preserved parts of skirts and a headband. Interesting is the band of plaits as a symbol of a married woman and housekeeper. Other fragments of corsets, a silk handkerchief with lace and ribbon, shoes, decorative straps and a belt, as well as silk and woolen fabrics are part of the find. Grave No 3 included a valuable gold ring with gems (rubies) and graceful golden decoration. It also preserved metallic parts of garments, laces (from metal and textile yarns), ribbons and woven fabrics of animal origin (silk, wool) that resist damp environment, as well as fragments of a linen cloth.
The set of the discovered buried textiles is vital evidence of the clothing culture of Bardejov town women, or the higher social class of the 17th century.
Greek-Catholic masonic temples from Maria Theresa’s reign in Slovakia
This sacral architecture is specific in having its constructions based on standardized projects designed by state-run building institutions. Between 1779 and 1797, eighteen such projects were devised for the needs of the local Greek Catholic Church.
The establishment of the standardized project followed three objectives: first, replacement of the original wooden sacral architecture of the Eastern Byzantine civilization with more resilient masonry constructions; second, enforcement of the basic architectural elements of the given period (classicist baroque and classicism) in rural temples; and third, an increase in fire safety of a wooden sacral temple (cerkev).
Prior to the construction of the Greek-Catholic masonic temples during the reign of Maria Theresa in the large Greek Catholic diocese of Mukachevo (present-day Western Ukraine, North-Eastern Slovakia and Romanian Maramures) a detailed documentation of the existing parish and filial churches was carried out. Since the patronage law enabled the state to intervene into church affairs, Bishop Andrej Bačinský (1772 – 1809) turned to Maria Theresa and asked for material as well as financial help with the construction and decoration of the temples in the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Bishopric. The terms of the cooperation between the state and the diocese were defined in two treaties, known as Concertatio Bacsinszky – Festetichiana (1778, 1779).
The state help was conditioned by the application of the standardized projects designed for the construction of rural temples. The material assistance meant the allocation and donation of a suitable land and supply of building materials (wood, stone, bricks). The state provided a subsidy of 600 Talers (toliars) for the construction of the Greek-Catholic temples in free royal towns. The state offered extra 100 Talers when building temples at other localities. This money could be used exclusively for interior decoration (wall and ceiling paintings, icons, iconostasis) and purchase of furniture.
The projects of the Building’s Office of the Royal Hungarian Chamber (or Hungarian Construction Headquarters) were simple, single-nave temples of an average architectural quality that respected the three-division of the temple into antechapel, nave and sanctuary. Their construction started a new building phase for the local Greek-Catholic Church and the masonry sacral architecture has been used in our territory until today.
... and they named it Dobro
The story of the modern musical instrument Dobro relates to the emigration wave of the Europeans to the United States of America before the First World War. Many of these emigrants became part of the American history. Such an example is the family of the miller, violinmaker and violinist Jozef Dopjera (1857-1937) from western Slovak region, who became one of the top overseas producers of stringed instruments.
After arriving in America in 1908, the Dopjeras settled in Los Angeles where John Dopjera and his father and later his brother Rudy started working in a window and door factory. John and his father played the violin, Rudy the bass, and brothers Louis, Bob and Edo the viola. Around 1916, they started to repair musical instruments. John, who was trained by his father, became a reputed violinmaker. Around 1922, the Dopjeras started their own business, and along with brothers Rudy and Edo began to make banjos under the name of the Dopyera Brothers. Rudy also made mandolins. Edo was more of a salesman than a craftsman. In 1926 they started making guitars. Louis and Bob were successful in car production. They became the Ford’s sales representatives and started to finance their brothers’ production of musical instruments.
From the very beginning, the Dopyera brothers focused on the improvement of the banjo, especially its acoustic properties. John submitted a patent for enhancing the banjo’s acoustics in 1923, by using a metal resonator mounted from above. Another patent from 1924 attempted to improve not only the banjo, but also the mandolin and guitar by using a resonator mounted on the back of the instrument. Thanks to inventive Rudy, the resonators also appeared in other instruments. John built his first Hawaiian guitar as a real resonator instrument based on the designs of George Beauchamp (1899-1941). Rudy developed a cross frame for the banjo, which became the technical basis of the bridge for the Dobro resonator guitar. The Dopyeras built the first full-metal handmade “resophonic” guitar under the name National in their workshop. During the Great Depression, the demand for expensive guitars declined. After the disputes between Dopyera and Beauchamp, who started producing a cheaper wooden model, the Dopyera brothers established the Dobro Manufacturing Company with Dobro business brand in 1929, which later became Dobro Corporation Limited.
Urban architecture of Halenárska Street in Trnava
Halenárska was originally a medieval street, and was referred to as the platea pannificum, Zukena, Neu Thor Gasse, Posztó utca or Simor János utca in period papers. It retained the character of a craft street until the 19th century. Up to this date, the one- and two-storey peripheral houses with long courtyards dominated the street’s eastern side. The historical buildings on the street’s western side were almost completely demolished during the second half of the 20th century. The houses on the eastern side became the property of the town after the nationalisation in 1948. It was not until they were sold to their new owners, or some declared cultural monuments that in-depth researches could be carried out from 2012 to 2016.
Regarding the building development and urbanism, the most interesting is the house at No. 14 Halenárska Street. It is a result of linking two originally detached constructions – a southern medieval house, dated to around the second half of the 13th century and the northern renaissance house from about the first half of the 17th century. By the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century, the houses most probably ended up in the hands of one owner who joined their functions and created a unified burgher house with craft workshop and passage. The layout of the house gradually evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries with added utilitarian courtyard wings, which no longer existed when the research started.
The research detected an unusually large extent of preservation of the medieval house. Three illuminating, or storage niches were identified in the interior, which is a unique finding with regards to the house location. The discovery of the primary smoke hole in the northern wall, which was closed at the end of the Middle Ages, is also significant. The main element that helps with dating the house is the technology of the masonry pointing, which has been well preserved. An important finding is also the slit hole (gun-pit?), which oversaw the road coming from the south to the house.
The research findings helped to form the image of architecture from the town’s beginning, early renaissance burgher architecture and purposeful rebuilding of the original craft houses from the 17th to 19th centuries. The archival research assessed the structure of Trnava inhabitants, whose professions influenced both the function and look of the individual houses in this area.
Ivan Gojdič – Rastislav Kocán – Erik Hrnčiarik
Church in Dolné Dubové and Jozef Ignác Bajza
The Roman-Catholic Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary dominates the village of Dolné Dubové (Trnava district) and is closely connected not only with the history of the village and its inhabitants, but also with the life and work of one of the pioneers of the Slovak cultural revival, Jozef Ignác Bajza.
Two stages of architectural and historical research took place there in 2014 – 2015. The findings show that the first development phase started with the settlement of the locality near one of the most important centres of the Hungarian Kingdom – Trnava. The village, under the name of Dombó, was first mentioned in 1262, in the donation document of King Béla IV.
There were eight building phases detected in the church. The oldest substance was preserved, almost in its entirety (with the exception of the western wall). This made it possible to almost completely reconstruct the original form of the church, which bore traces of the ending Romanesque style (nave) and start of the Gothic period (sanctuary). A small rectangular sacristy adjoined the sanctuary from the north. No traces were preserved from the interior’s oldest decoration in the form of wall paintings.
At the beginning of 2017, the Department of Classical Archaeology at the Philosophical Faculty of Trnava University carried out an archaeological research in the exterior that focused on the boundary wall around the church cemetery. They managed to explore a compact stone wall 18 metres in length, on the eastern side of the sanctuary. Unfortunately, it was not possible to detect the exact date of the wall’s origin, which was removed at the end of the 18th century, when the church was rebuilt under the supervision of Jozef Ignác Bajza.
J. I. Bajza worked at a parish in Dolné Dubové for 22 years (1783 - 1805). These are also the years that are associated with the peak period of his literary work. In 1794 an extensive, financially demanding reconstruction of the parish church began. Bajza reliably recorded all the income and expense of the parish and proved to be a smart economist and lawyer. After the church reconstruction, his care about the building did not end. Among other things, he initiated the installation of a new bell (1800), repair of the church’s roof and benches (1801) and purchase of a new organ (1804).
Stone palmetto fragment from Zobor, Nitra
We only know of a small collection of stonecutter’s findings from Nitra and its Romanesque churches, which bear no clear features of a specific period style. Recently, this collection received a new addition. They found a stone piece, which despite its damage, could have its origin identified. It came from a stone-making production of the then Hungarian Kingdom (which included today’s Slovakia). So far, most of the findings came from the Nitra castle hill. This newest addition related to another important area of Nitra – the Zobor Benedictine monastery.
The sculpturally decorated fragment was found in the autumn of 2014, during the petrographic analysis of stones in the ruins of the Baroque church of Camaldoli monastery. This was built at the place of the derelict Benedictine Monastery on the Zobor hill at the end of the 18th century. The stone was built into the southern wall of the church’s main nave, as a secondary construction material. The preserved fragments make it impossible to detect the original use of the stone. Only the basic ornamental feature can be identified. It is a palmetto, in relatively low relief without any other motifs. Based on the analogies, we can guess that the stone was originally a decorative feature in architecture. Probably formed a part of a horizontal frieze strip. The Zobor’s find can be added to the stone-sculptural monuments of the 11th century palmetto style of the Hungarian region. From the territory of Slovakia, there are also parts of the choir’s railings from the Church of St. Nicholas in the village of Leánd (Bíňa-Opátska).
The context of another stone feature from the Zobor monastery, the volute column head, is also uncertain. This Romanesque architectural feature differs from the ornamental palmetto stone. Its head shape analogy can be found in the exhibition of the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest, in an item originally from the village of Bana (near Komárno). Both heads date back to the 12th century.
Historical photographs from Emil Mana’s collection
The collection of historical photographs of Emil Mana (1945-1997) arrived at the Bratislava City Museum in 2005 and 2016. The analysis of his 200 photographs confirmed that the main contribution of this collection was in documenting the historical photographic processes. Part of the collection was the oldest photograph taken so far, from around 1855. It was made in the famous Bratislava studio of E. N. Kozics on salty paper. It is a group portrait of the Wittmann von Dengláz family and also has a coloured variant.
The collection includes photos from 34 Bratislava studios (Adler, Fink, Marian, Carlo di Ságo, Körper, Kozics, Brodszky, Friedl and others) from the 1860s to 1930s. The work of the other Bratislava studios, Weihtrager, Weidenhöffer, Steegmüller, Reichenstein, Novák, Karinger and Koeppe has not yet been represented in the museum’s collections.
The photos of painter Karol Fridrich Scheidlin (1822-1913) and his son Fritz Scheidlin (1867-1964) represent a separate photo collection within Emil Mana’s collection. Mana acquired these photos from the personal inheritance of the painter, who was born in Vienna and was one of the lesser-known representatives of the then Austrian art movement. He spent his artistic life in Bratislava, on his property in Svätý Jur and on journeys round Europe. He was a founding member of the Pressburger Kunstverein and its Vice-President in 1885. The Mana’s collection preserved the photographs of F. K. Scheidlin and members of his large family, as well as the painter’s amateur photographs and documents. His son Fritz was also an amateur photographer. The collection contained nine albums, glass and celluloid negatives and several photographic devices, such as the Ihagee camera, stereoscopic viewer, and negative and positive photo folders.
In addition to enriching the historical photography archives of the museum, the Mana’s collection also became a small laboratory for researchers of various disciplines – art history, genealogy, photo restoration and history of photographic techniques.
Craft bottle from Utekáč glassworks
Cuboid bottles, decorated with engraved technologies that symbolised crafts and other trades, are remarkable glass artefacts of the local provenience. Several unique examples of this representational glass with the guild’s insignias have mainly been preserved in our museums from the 18th and 19th centuries. One of them is the craft bottle from the collection fund of Homeland Museum in Hlohovec. It is made of clear glass, with square shapes of rectangular section, rounded edges and a low neck. The sides are decoratively engraved with attributions of the butcher’s trade, date 1862, inscription Éljen, initials FJ and Hungarian state sign. The bottle is 24.8 cm high, 12.3 x 8.5 cm wide and 4.8 cm in diameter at the neck.
The museum’s catalogue had no information on the bottle’s origin or function. Regarding the initials and other craft attributes engraved on it, it was most probably made to an order for a butcher’s master and it represented his professional and social status. The motif of a tray carrying a carafe and two glasses, engraved on the bottle’s side suggests the origin of the item. It has noticeably identical features with the coat of arms of the Utekáč municipality, where one of the most significant Slovak glassworks existed from 1787 (or 1824 based on different sources) to 1998. The basic motif is adopted from the historical tokens (wechselns in German) that were used as substitute money to pay the glass makers wages. The wechselns were minted from metal in numerical values of 1, 5 and 10, and represented the adequate value in grajciars (kreutzers - money used in Hungarian Kingdom, ed. note). The engraving of the tray with carafe and glasses on the bottle is a stylised copy of the glasswork’s motif that was minted on the tokens.
Columna vero murata – the masonry column in Ťahanovce
Ťahanovce, the city part of Košice, has had an interesting motif in its coat of arms from 2006 – a masonry pillar, about the history of which nothing was published. The archival-historical research on this tiny sacral construction, which started in October 2016, examined the preserved written records – archival documents, maps, articles from the period newspapers and photographs. The original documents relating to the masonry pillar were copied and translated.
The key documents were the bishops’ visits (visitations) recorded in the Archbishop’s Archives that took place in Ťahanovce in the 17th and 19th centuries. The record from 1811 mentions several times, an old Christian chapel built at the Prešov road. The structure is marked as columna vero murata, meaning a masonry column in a damaged, dilapidated state. This is the oldest known written reference about the pillar.
The newspaper article from the 20th October 1880 in the Hungarian-written periodical Felvidéki közlöny mentions an event from December 1848, the revolution year, when allegedly Polish volunteers were killed and buried near the column. The article prompted the study of the Košice’s chronicle, where this information could be verified. But neither there, nor in the death registrars of Ťahanovce, Budimír and Košice, any record of their death or burial was found. Only an archaeological research could have confirmed this assumption.
Between 1871 and 1880, new Ťahanovce priest Karol Antal (Antal Károly) got involved with the renovation of the column, referring to it as the Rákoczy’s column in his correspondence. He started a collection for its repair and asked the bishop for a consecration after the restoration. However, this initiative stopped after an extensive fire destroyed the parish.
The unique historical sources providing information about the region in the second half of the 18th century were the military maps. The maps from 1782 already mark the symbol of a small sacral structure called the devotional pillar. This symbol can be also found on the Plan der Umgebung von Kaschau from 1857 to 1858, marked as Martyr Saüle, as well as on the cadastral maps of Ťahanovce from 1868 to 1912. The local monumental research dates the column’s origin to the 17th century. In the past, it was possibly used as a boundary mark between the Abov and Šariš counties, or a landmark for travellers.
Schweizerhaus of Countess Chotek in Dolná Krupá
The estate of the Chotek noble family in Dolná Krupá received a new addition in 1906, with a distinctive look. The Schweizerhaus or so-called Upper Manor House, which only existed for four decades, resembled a museum. Such was the intention of the investor, Countess Marie Henrieta Chotek (1863 - 1946). She designed the house herself, as an administrative outbuilding of the intended rose garden. While the famous rosary of Dolná Krupá was not forgotten, the memory on the countess’s peculiar building almost fully vanished.
Henrieta Chotek, the granddaughter of the owner of Dolná Krupá estate, Jozef Brunschwick, had shown artistic talent since childhood and lived a rich social life. She was beautiful, came from a distinguished and respectable family, yet she never married. She was an honorary member of the Noble Ladies’ Institute of Mary’s School in Brno (Adelige Damenstift Maria-Schul zu Brünn). She was engaged in the Catholic movement in Vienna and was at the birth of a lay religion teaching in Austria. She was known as the “club mother” (Bundesmutter).
She inherited a love for nature from her father, and his loss in 1903 had deeply affected her.
She decided to move to her own home. When designing it, she took inspiration from local as well as foreign traditional folk architecture. The picturesque Schweizerhaus was part of a large complex of farming and residential buildings around the manor house. To highlight the authenticity of the house, the Countess received her visitors there dressed in folk costume. Since 1907, Henrieta Chotek was the member of the Austrian Ethnographic Society (Verein für österreichische Volkskunde). As a passionate collector, she filled her house with valuable antiquities. Their number grew in proportion with the increasing fame of her rose garden at the Upper Manor House. One year after her death, in the summer of 1947, a fire damaged parts of the building covered with straw. This brought the end to the entire complex, which was soon divided into several plots.
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