Kotor – In the Maritime museum in Kotor the book “Promised tiles of Gospa od Skrpjela” by Pier Paci from Venice, the expert for Venetian jewelry, was presented. The same named exhibition was opened on which just a part of over 1.500 silver promised tiles was presented, which are being preserved in this sanctuary.
– They testify about the centuries old fight of the men with the sea, and with the troubles which were often the companion of our sailors. They are a part of the maritime heritage of this area and a testimony of the deep faith and loyalty to the faith of the one who gives an oath – said Slavko Dabinovic in front of the Maritime museum which with the Bishopric ordinate of Kotor is the organizer of the promotion.
PhD Milos Milosevic pointed out that promised tiles “even though they will never enter in archives, represent the full and authentic documentation for certain questions, as all other written archive documents”.
He says that “ex vota” in Gospa od Skrpjela before the XVII century were mostly not preserved.
– We are familiar with the three robberies of tiles, and the most famous and the biggest one was in 1624 year when the flotilla of the North African barbers with 13 gullies attacked the town, with about 2000 loafers well trained in their professional trade. They pervaded into the town of 600 citizens and in the time when people from Perast were on the trading traveling. About 450 women, children and old people were taken into slavery on that occasion, and the robbed valuable things surmounted the value of 100.000 ducats. According to some records about 600 “ex vota” were taken away – said Milosevic.
Don Anton Belan pointed out that this is the first all encompassing approach to “ex voto” items from Boka churches.
– Thanks to Mr. Pier Paci who today is considered to be one of the best connoisseurs of the Venetian jewelry making, we have got such an important monograph which in the best possible way with documents shows this segment of the jewelry making which until nowadays, unfortunately, was not known enough and was not valorized – said Belan and added that the oaths in the sanctuary of Gospa od Skrpjela have survived the “tempers of men and the destiny of the time”.
Belan said that the collection from the XVII, XVIII, and XIX century, which treats the maritime theme, is the most significant and the biggest of that kind in the world, and that certain sanctuaries in the world have a larger number of oaths, but not from the XVII and XVII century, and not with the maritime theme.
– The sea was the source of life, but also of a certain disappearance of those who mostly shaped Boka ethnically, religiously, culturally and in the sense of a civilization. Except the wars, contagious diseases, plague, cholera, the sea took away the greatest tribute in human lifes. Promised silver tiles of the sanctuary of Gospa od Skrpjela are a testimony of a dramatic fight of a man from Boka. Each of these oaths represents the victory of a man over the sea and carries in itself and individual and collective destiny written in the silver oath – said Belan.
He reminded that there is not a single important event in the tumultuous history of Boka which for a consequence did not have an oath gift “as a memory for salvation”.
The author processed 923 silver promised tiles, and in the book he presented 437 tiles which are divided into 6 theme sections. Author thinks that for the most part this silver tiles originate from 6 different local Boka work shops.
The author sites that the example of Venetian jewelry work in a smaller degree present, and at the same time they are the most significant artistic examples of the collection, and that except for the importance for Boka and Montenegro, this collection has a first calls importance for studying of the Venetian navigation.
– 131 oaths have the inscription in Latin or in Italian, that is, in Venetian dialect, while in Croatian and Serbian language you can not find a single inscription. The oldest oath dates from the year 1654, and it is a gift of Perast municipality as a promise for the defense of Perast from the Turks, while the youngest oath dates from the 1842 and it is a gift of the captain Anton Radimir. This oath was intended to the sanctity in Trsat, which can be seen from the inscription, but from, to us, unknown reasons it got to the sanctuary on Gospa od Skrpjela – said Belan.
Monograph was not printed for commercial purposes, and it will be given to certain people and institutions whose names are citied in the book.
In the second volume of this monograph another 550 promised tiles from Perast sanctuary, as well as from other present churches in Dobrota, Prcanj, island Gospe od milosti (ISLAND OF LADY OF MERCY), Mula, Kotor, and Stoliv, will be processed. The author is announcing his two new books in which he will process the treasury of the church of Sveti Nikola (St. Nicolas) and the treasury of Kotor’s cathedral of Sveti Tripun (St. Tripun).
VIRIGIN AS A SULTAN
The author of the monograph calls the silver promised tiles “silver prayers” and notes that the sanctuary of Gospa od Skrpjela is the only one which has preserved such a valuable collection from the XVII and XVIII century.
– With the sanctuary of Gospa od Skrpjela people in the world should get more familiar with, of course tourists and local citizenship mainly because of the exquisite collection which it has. Not just the church authority, but also state authorities should take care of this because it is really significant – said Paci.
He pointed out and interesting thing, a display of Virgin as she is sitting on a throne as a sultan.
– There are four such oaths, which display Virgin sitting on a divan with her legs crossed. Such a display of the Lady is unconceivable for the jewelers both catholic and orthodox. So probably that was made by someone who was present in the Turkish part of Herceg Novi or Risan, and maybe even it was a Turk who made them. It is very interesting for the people who are interested in iconography, because that way of display of Virgin is not know anywhere in the world – commented Paci.