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|Crests and Sacral Arts in Lithuania
More detailed introductory remarks of ethnographer Antanas Stravinskas are still translated. In the place of them this summary remembers the main ideas and structure of this Internet album.PART ONE. FOLK WOOD CARVERS IN SACRED ARTS
Vincas Svirskis Other Samogitian Folk Wood Carvers and Their Work in Sacred Arts Other Lithuanian Folk Sacred Art Works in the Archives of Balys Buracas
PART TWO. NATIONAL CULTURAL RELICS IN SACRED ART FROM 18th-20th CENTURIES Sacred Roof-Poles and Shrines. Sacred Crests in the National Landscape
* * * About 300 historical photos of sacred wayside folk shrines, crests and roadside poles from 18th-early 20th centuries in Lithuania Propria and Lithuania Minor (Prussia) are presented in this edition from the unique archives (more than 36,000 photos) of famous ethnographer Balys Buraèas. He was a professional master of documentary photography enriched by effective foreshortening, artistical compositions.
* * * Between the years 1912 and 1932, 43 procents of roofed poles and crosses disappeared… Since Lithuania has lost its independence, they have been completely destroyed because of their national and religious character, ascertained famous American-Lithuanian ethnographer and archeologist Marija Gimbutas in her book ("Ancient Symbolism in Lithuanian Folk", Philadelphia, 1958, p. 1).
* * * Historical photos of Lithuanian crests and roadside poles (some with shrines) from 18th - beginning of 20th centuries show the authentic centuries-lasting Lithuanian sacral art traditions, the deep spiritual self-expression: restraint, deep and unique interpretation of folk traditions retaining some long-lasting elements of pagan customs of nature worship interconnected with later Christianity. As was deeply noticed by Prof.Marija Gimbutas again, there is more to folk art than ornamentation, expressiveness, color; there is the heritage of past ages conserved in symbolism. The motifs of folk art symbolism may be compared to other monuments of ancient design representing concepts which reach back into the preliterate period (p.3). "The duration of the symbolic tokens can be sensed by studying the prehistoric objects which, even for several thousands of years, exhibited symbols belonging to a single religious system. During the Christian era, peasants adopted new symbols but without forgetting the old ones… For instance, Lithuanian wooden poles with pyramidal roofs and crosses are very rich in pre-Christian symbols." A deeper folk intercultural analysis possibly would find more reliable answer to the suggestions on possible links between B a l t i c and S c a n d i n a v i a n sacral symbolism going thousands years' distance.
* * * The biographies of some of Lithuanian folk carvers - such as Vincas Svirskis, three generations of Orvidas, Pranas Perminas, Aleksandras Potockis, J. Valys as well as some rituals and traditions connected with sacral art, religious relics in the territory of Lithuania are also presented in this photo album.
* * * The professionalism of Balys Buracas (1897-1972) was evaluated by the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Paris with Gold Medal (1937); he also was highly evaluated for his ethnographic exibits in New York World Exposition (1939), his photos of national sacral art represented Lithuanian cultural traditions in pre-war L'encyclopédie Larousse, Illustrated London News.