Showing posts with label seal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seal. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New book on Royal Seals of the Árpád Dynasty

A new book, written by Imre Takács on Royal Seals of the Árpád Dynasty was presented today at the Hungarian National Archives. The book is the first part of a new series, titled Corpus Sigillorum Hungariae Mediaevalis. The series aims to provide catalogue of Hungarian medieval seals - including royal seals, aristocratic seals as well as seals of towns, religious institutions and other organizations. The first volume is dedicated to seals issued by Hungarian kings of the Árpád Dynasty (1000-1301), and includes a total of 48 entries. The use of royal seals was first referred to in the foundation charter of the Abbey of Pannonhalma, issued in 1001. However, no surviving examples of the earliest royal seals - including seals of King Stephen I - are known, thus the series of examples starts with a humble lead bulla of King Peter (1039-1042, 1044-1046), followed by the seal of summons of Andrew I (1046-1060). Most spectacular are the great gold seals of 12th and 13th century kings - such as the gold bulla of King Emeric (1196-1204), seen on the cover of the book (and here to the left). The book also includes four seals of queens from the period, as well as a few seals issued by princes of the Árpád Dynasty.

In addition of a full catalogue of these seals (48 entries total), the book also contains an extensive introductory study by Imre Takács, dedicated to art historical questions. Subjects include 'type history and iconography', as well as questions of 'image and style'. The rich material in the comparative illustrations make clear that these miniature masterworks of goldsmith work are related not only to western European royal seals, but also to contemporary monumental sculpture. 

The full text of the book is included in an English translation as well, making the material accessible for the wider public.

Takács, Imre: Az Árpád-házi királyok pecsétjei - Royal Seals of the Árpád Dynasty. Corpus Sigillorum Hungariae Mediaevalis I. Budapest, Magyar Országos Levéltár (Hungarian National Archives), 2012. 192 pp.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Medieval seal matrix of Nagybánya stolen

After some good news reported yesterday, today I have something sad to write on. As reported by Hungarian and Romanian press alike, the seal matrix of the town of Nagybánya has gone missing some time in late July. (Nagybánya was known as Asszonypataka or  Neustadt in the Middle Ages, and was one of the most important mining towns in Szatmár county. The town is today called Baia Mare, and is the seat of Maramures county of Romania). The seal matrix was stolen from a glass showcase in the County Historical and Archaeological Museum of Maramures County. The theft was announced on August 2nd.

The octagonal silver seal matrix of Nagybánya is one of the celebrated miniature masterpieces of 14th century Hungarian goldsmith work. It can be dated to the 1360s, and was probably made in a royal workshop. King Louis the Great (1342-1382) has given several privileges to the emerging mining town, and supported construction of its great parish church, dedicated to St. Stephen. The seal shows a seated king atop a hill - likely St. Stephen, with two miners working below. The inscription on the perimeter reads: S[igilium] d[e] R[ivulo] D[ominarum], Mutuus amor civiu[m] optimu[m] e[st] civitatis firmamentu[m] (roughly: 'The mutual love of citizens is the best foundation of the city').

The original seal matrix and a modern cast on display at Baia Mare

After missing for centuries, the seal matrix was found in a vineyard in 1904. It was put on display in the history museum in 2004. Hopefully it will be recovered soon.

Read more: news report in Romanian and in Hungarian.

Most recent overview of the medieval architecture and sculpture of Nagybánya - in particular an overview of the church of St. Stephen - is available in a new volume about medieval Szatmár county, available in full text in Hungarian and Romanian. Look for the studies of Szilárd Papp and Veronika Csikós.