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Russian filigree art before and after the Mongol-Tatar invasion
A number of important processes in development of Russian granulation and filigree arts started before the Mongol-Tatar invasion: geometric styles in granulation gradually were replaced in gold jewellery by “austere” and “high-flown” ones, related to the progress of world filigree art.
Slavic and Russian national attire adorned with filigree and granulation was changing gradually typologically and stylistically under the influence of Byzantine Christian dress based on cloisonne technology.
One of the basic trends of the process consisted in transition to narrow chain-attached pendants (ryasno), while large star-shaped temporal rings (kolts) fell out of use. Destruction caused by the Mongol invasion had put an end to functioning of national metal attire, it was never restored. The destiny of high-flown style in filigree art developed by elite jeweller’s manufacturing in Rus’ and Byzantium was
the same. Morphological types of ancient Russian ornaments were forgotten.
In the 14th c. an independent “spiral” style in Russian filigree art came into being, its development being somewhat retarded. In the 15th c. a new impact of Byzantine influence is observed; it was expressed in subsequent including Byzantine stamp-like elements into compositions executed in spiral style. General picture of spreading technological varieties of wire filigree art is similar to that of pre-Mongol period.
Studies of filigree art led to a conclusion that the Mongol devastation caused a break in development of national traditional culture, which must be evaluated as great loss and cultural discontinuity. Still, the progressive technological and stylistic tendencies originating from the pre-Mongol epoch continued their development.
I.E. Zaitseva, T.G. Saracheva
Non-ferrous metal finds from the Vyatichian sites (comparative historical analysis)
Comparative study of two databases is discussed in the paper. Tbe data concern analyses of non-ferrous metal used for ornaments’ manufacturing in the ancient Russian town of Serensk (121 samples) and found in rural burial mounds attributed to the Vyatichians tribe (542 samples). Serensk was a borderline fortress controlled by the princes of Chernigov. Its cultural deposit has yielded impressive remains of jeweller’s production, attested to three workshops dated from the first half of the 13th c. and the second half of the 13th-14th cc. The comparison was executed according to the parameters singled out in advance of the procedure, that is application of pure metals, binary, triple, and multiple alloys.
Having compared the amassed data, it may be stated that the town of Serensk and the rural sites both represent a single metallurgical tradition typified by prevalence of tin bronzes and lead-tin bronzes (the Vyatichian zone of non-ferrous metal-working, according to A.A. Konovalov). Still, some essential differences were recorded by analytical studies of certain alloys. Thus, in the Serensk groups of tin bronzes and lead-tin ones the formulas with low tin contain prevailed, while among the material from the barrows both low tin and high tin formulas in the ornaments were observed.
The above notions have led the authors to a conclusion that the production made by the Serensk artisans was spread
in the town’s vicinity (coiled wire bracelets, grill openwork finger-rings, and so forth), but greater part of the barrow material was produced in another manufacturing tradition.
The alloy with tin content up to 8% and lead up to 2% was the favourite one applied by the jewellers in Serensk. Various categories of ornaments were made of it. This formula was a universal one from technological position. Local craftsmen had at their disposal tin-containing raw material and deliberately produced that very alloy. They basically worked with metal raw material and did not remelt scrap ornaments. On the contrary, rural jewellers worked with remelted scrap fairly often.
The finds yielded by the town workshop dated from the second half of the 13th c. have shown both survival of the old traditions in alloy formulas and innovations as well, the latter caused, in the first place, by the changes in composition of the raw materials obtained. In the earlier period this kind of relations were directed eastward (towards the Volga Bulgaria), later the jewellers gained their raw materials from the west, which is confirmed by the presence of zinc-containing alloys. After formation in the late 13th c. of small independent principalities functioning of a large jeweller’s workshop was not necessary any more, and ornaments’ manufacturing in Serensk came to an and.
Finno-Ugrian ornaments in Novgorod in the 13th century