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Stećaks at Grebine in Čeveljuša and at the Church of St. John at Zavala in western Plina

Marinko Tomasović orcid id ; Gradski Muzej Makarska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.874 Kb

str. 167-183

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The unique monolithic medieval tombstones, called stećaks, at Grebine in coastal Čeveljuša and, 3 km to the north, at the Church of St. John at Zavala in Western Plina, in the immediate hinterland of the port city of Ploče, were incorporated in the scholarly literature rather early. Summary data on them were published in the bulletin Starohrvatska prosvjeta in 1896, wherein the decorations on them were not mentioned as in later studies. They were designated standing stone stećaks. Besides the stećaks at these cemeteries in Western Plina, the toponym Grebine in Perka also indicates the Middle Ages, even though the stone cross there cannot be dated. The stećaks at Grebine in Čeveljuša were placed in the context of the three tumuli at the pass on a footpath from the coastal settlement to Zavala. A total of 23 stećaks were registered, almost exclusively chest-shaped. A half are lower types, while the rest are medium-high and high chests. Such a typological picture corresponds to the situation in the cemeteries of the wider Ploče hinterland and on the right bank of the Neretva River, and in the neighbouring Makarska littoral. With reference to the quality of the stećaks, a general assessment which can be made is that they were solidly made, and the number of well-made stećaks surpasses those of lesser quality or amorphous appearance. There are five stećaks at the Church of St. John in Zavala, most of them dislocated. These can also be classified as chests, and they display similar craftsmanship. Two chests at Grebine in Čeveljuša are decorated. One chest is richly decorated with symbolic and figural/ compositional portrayals of a ring-dance of female and male figures, a hunting scene and a cross on the frontal side. The stećak has twisted rope design as trimming. The most numerous common features with the ring-dance motif can be found on the stećaks of Popovo polje in Herzegovina. The dancers’ hands are at shoulder level, the men are depicted in more expressive movements, and they wear pointed hats on their heads. The women are depicted without feet en face, in stylized one-piece dresses with a diagonal lower hem. The figures are also linked by their reduction, a specific feature of the stećaks from the left bank of the Neretva River. However, the fullest analogy to the portrayals on the chests in Čeveljuša are from the Ljubuški area, from Borje in Klobuk. They are akin in several aspects which cannot be found elsewhere. The male figures are somewhat larger, while the women “hang” in space. The details of the hem on the clothing of the men is also identical. The contours of the horse also stand in contrast to the examples from Popovo, and in Čeveljuša, in the sharper breaks, similar also in the placement of the legs. It is also not difficult to recognize the fullness of the analogy between the portrayals of battle on the stećak in Klobuk and the one at Kostanić grob in Drvenik, in the upper Makarska littoral. There is also a similarity in the type of high and narrow chest, the stylistic expression of the figures and the twisted rope trimming. This is also apparent in the portrayal of the deer hunt on the opposite side of the chest in Čeveljuša. The cross on the frontal side has greater importance to the determination of the cultural sphere of the portrayals on the chest in Čeveljuša. Its rendering, with leaf-shaped ends on the horizontal arm and rectangular depression on the lower portion in the form of a “tower”, as well as the symmetrical placement of two birds on the horizontal arm, is a unique solution for this iconographic motif. The motif is not unknown on the stećaks of the eastern bank of the Neretva River, although it is rare and rendered in crosses with a different appearance. The identical idea for placement of the birds is elsewhere rendered in the outline of a cross-shaped upper portion of a sword below a shield. Examples can be found in Herzegovina as well, on both banks of the Neretva River. The cross at Grebine in Čeveljuša is an exceptional creation rendered by a mason familiar with similar individual solutions, such that he created a unique synthesis here. The heart-shaped shield on the upper surface of the other chest became dominant due to its relief character. It is oriented toward the cultural circle east of the Neretva River. The stećaks at Čeveljuša generally belong to the Herzegovinian circle of artistic rendering of medieval grave monuments. The Ljubuški area is the most solid indicator of a narrower workshop circle for their production. The motif of the relief crescent moon and sun on the chest at Zavala is generally widespread, also known in Baćina, farther west. This also applies to the smaller paired crosses on the two chests, in Čeveljuša and Zavala. They are a Christian motif symbolically, designating the number of those buried beneath the stećaks. The semi-circular depressions on the surfaces of the same chest in Čeveljuša and the other in Zavala are small basins for holy water or recipients for candles. With reference to the dating of the stećaks in Čeveljuša and Zavala, it can be said that the previous determination of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries have been confirmed in research in the cemeteries of Eastern Plina. A cemetery with stećaks in Ograda in Eraci has been dated from the end of the fourteenth to the end of the fifteenth century. The graves with stećaks atop Mišja Draga in Šarić Struga were dated with greater certainty to the first decades of the fifteenth century. For now, the stećaks at Grebine in Čeveljuša and at St. John’s in Zavala in the western part of Plina must be dated within this framework as well.

Ključne riječi

stećaks in Plina; stećaks on both banks of the Neretva River; standing stone stećaks/chest-shaped stećaks; portrayal of ring-dance; portrayal of the hunt; cross with leaf-like termination of bars; antithetical posture of birds; heart-shaped shield motif; crescent moon and sun motif

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