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S. Doncheva (Shumen, Bulgaria)

On the Shape and Decoration of Belt Mounts in the Early Medieval Bulgaria

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Pages: 55-68

The production of art metal in the early medieval Bulgaria became known after the discovery of three metal-plating centers in the vicinity of the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom — Preslav, from the beginning and middle of the 10th century. Along with technology and jewelry, the origin of raw materials and the chemical composition of the metal, necessary to fully comprehend the extremely numerous material found so far, there are some issues related to the shape, proportions, elements of the ornament and the method of manufacturing individual decorative details. Combination of all these components leads to one exceptionally rich palette of various belt jewelry, at the same time reflecting the fashion trends of the era, the individual approach of the craftsman and traditions in the art of artistic metal.
The original combinations of shapes and ornaments found on the belt adornments of metal-plastic manufacturing centers are nowhere to be found in such a variety during this period, neither in the country nor abroad. In the various settlements and fortresses of medieval Bulgaria in the early period, only a few representatives of certain types are known, and not in such great diversity. A similar picture exists outside the country: numerous finds from various places in Hungary, Serbia, Russia and Southeastern Europe cannot be compare with the richness of shapes and ornaments originating from the one place near Preslav. This is somewhat explainable by the place of production, but it seems to be not the only reason. There are many industries outside the country, which do not show this diversity of products.

Keywords: Bulgaria, Preslav, Early Middle Age, art metalwork, production centers, typology

Information about author:

Stela Doncheva
(Shumen, Bulgaria). Doctor of History. National Institute of Archaeology, Shumen Branch. General Toshev St., 4, Shumen, 9700, Bulgaria
E-mail: [email protected]

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