The bells of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th-15th centuries Cover Image

XIV–XV a. LDK varpai
The bells of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14th-15th centuries

Author(s): Gražina Marija Martinaitienė
Subject(s): Cultural history, Architecture, Visual Arts, 13th to 14th Centuries, 15th Century, Sociology of Art
Published by: Lietuvos mokslų akademijos leidykla

Summary/Abstract: In 1856, historian Teodoras Narbutas published the first comprehensive description of a bell cast in Vilnius. This year may be regarded as the starting point of Lithuanian campanology. However, the next century was rather scarce in this regard. In 1924, ethnographer Michal Brenstein published (in Polish) “An Essay on Casting in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania”, and only the third quarter of the 20th century saw the first publications of Lithuanian researchers on church bells of this country. The present paper, for the first time in the Lithuanian language, offers an overview and analysis of Lithuania’s oldest bells, some of them having survived up to the present days and others being known only from descriptions in the literature and from historical documents. Many of them are mentioned and briefly characterized by M. Brenstein in his essay. I gave a new, “Lithuanian“ reading not only to this essay. Based on primary sources, I managed to significantly upgrade and expand M. Brenstein’s statements. Data collected by author and her colleagues in many-year expeditions helped to establish the present location of some of the bells mentioned by M. Brenstein and to supplement the chronological list of Lithuania’s oldest bells by newly found valuable items. Artistic analysis of the oldest Lithuanian bells is an essential part of the paper. Discussion if given to the shape, proportions, external inscriptions of these casts. The origin, structure and style of these religious and informative texts are analysed.

  • Issue Year: 14/2007
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 1-15
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Lithuanian