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Belt of "Mramorac" Type

Belt of "Mramorac" Type

  • Site: Unkonown
  • Period: Prehistory, Early Iron Age
  • Date: late 6th-5th centuries BC
  • Material: silver sheet
  • Technique: repoussé
  • Dimensions: length: 95 cm
  • Inventory number: AP 7775

Outstanding among the finds from the early Iron Age is this splendid belt lavishly decorated with geometric designs and palmettes. Most of the objects of this type come from tombs discovered by chance in the lower reaches of the Velika Morava, i.e. in the territory which was inhabited, according to scant historical evidence, by the tribe of the Triballi. Several examples, also chance finds, come from southern Bačka, and two belts made of gold sheet were found in a princely mound near Novi Pazar, where they were reliably dated, on the basis of the accompanying luxurious objects from the Greek colonies in southern Italy, into the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 5th century B.C. In the majority of cases such belts were found in pairs, and it is supposed that they were also worn in pairs. Luxurious adornments of this type represent the most brilliant products of prehistoric metal-working. These belts are inspired by Greek and Macedonian models, but they were undoubtedly products of local workshops. This symbiosis of native and alien, Greek, artistic tendencies and conceptions is reflected in the selection of ornamental motifs. The geometric designs of rhombs and swastikas belong to the autochthonous tradition and were known in the Balkans from the Bronze Age, while the palmette motif is typical of the Greek area. The appearance of precious objects of Greek provenance and of products made of precious metals by local craftsmen testifies to the rapid rise of the Triballi, within whose community a class of aristocrats, or "princes", developed in the course of the 6th-5th centuries B.C. The richly decorated belts, made to please the taste and wishes of the local grandees, show that a kind of "court style", characterized by the use of precious metals and by superb craftsmanship, was developed by local craftsmen in response to the demands of this class.

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