Great Moravian buttons with wrought decoration

Categories: Invitations

4 November 2023 at 15:00
at the Mušov Visitor Centre - Gateway to the Roman Empire

Mgr. Šárka Krupičková, Ph.D.,
Martin Fořt, DiS.

In Czech archaeology, the term buttons refers to decorated spherical pendants made most often from two connected metal hemispheres and equipped with a loop for hanging. They are known mainly from Moravia, where hundreds of examples have been discovered in Great Moravian graves in central church burial grounds. The most numerous typological group are buttons with wrought ornaments. They often reach considerable sizes exceeding three or four centimetres in diameter. This, in connection with the thinness of the sheet metal from which they were made, makes them fragile clothing applications that could hardly have had a practical function. The decoration on their surface may seem familiar - reminiscent of the ornamentation of Dalmatian or northern Italian stone links ecclesiastical architecture, or Central Asian toreutics displayed in one of the world's renowned museums. Yet there are no analogues for these artefacts in the wider geographical area. So what were they used for and where did they come from in Great Moravia? How can their research speak to the wider socio-economic conditions of Central Europe in the 9th century? These are some of the questions addressed in the current lecture by archaeologist Šarka Krupičková.

The afternoon will also include an experimental production of a button with wrought decoration. Jewellery designer and restorer Martin Fořt will be experimenting with the hammering of a silver button with a plant geometric ornament from grave 100 discovered near the 2nd church at the Mikulčice-Valy hillfort. First, he has to make all the necessary components - a hemisphere made of 0.3 mm thin silver sheet, an eyelet, a loop, two rings made of pearl wire and a collar. He then decorates the hemispheres with ornaments and finally assembles the whole object together. A demonstration of the hammering and the semi-finished products of each stage of button making will be available to view after the lecture.

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