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Written 03.12.2009. 10:46
Relief of the Virgin Mary from Vidostak On their arrival on today\'s territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croats search their first shelters in the ruins of Roman buildings; late classical refuges serve as their strongholds for the most necessary defense. Their early traces are found not far from Bijeljina, in Vrbljani near Kljuc and on Gradina around great fields of Western Bosnia. Some time after, the Croats begin to construct their primitive redoubts in plains, called today "gradiste". One of these, protected with dike and paling is found in Ukrina valley near the town of Derventa, and another one in Mahovljani near Banja Luka.

The number of discovered edifices is not great. Among them are church on Panik near Bileca, one of the churches in Zavala, on Vidostak near Stolac and in Vrutci near Sarajevo. Rectangular shrinesand on the external walls are common characteristics of all the churches. The church on Panik was covered with frescoes, while the church in Vrutci was equipped with stone furniture enriched with interlaced ornamentation. According to unreliable information, a round six apse edifice was built in Rogacici near Blazuj and although ciborium dates from somewhat later period, the church could be included in the same group of churches. The ruins of the church in Lisicici containing a small apse and two apses on the eastern wall can also be ascribed to the late pre-Romanesque period.

The stone relief of the figure of Our Lady with the Child, on Vidostak near Stolac, represents the only known example of the fine arts of the early Middle Ages on the soil of Bosnia and Herzegovina until today, although it remains difficult to date it more closely.

Art craft, especially goldsmith\'s trade is very developed. One of the very convincing proofs that testifies about high leveled culture of the period and economic possibilities of the society is abundance of adornment enclosed within the graves. An ear-ring containing an inversed pyramid from Velika Kladusa and Kablica Malog near Livno belongs to the oldest examples of the culture mentioned. Their origin is traced to Byzantine or Mediterranean goldsmith shops. A bucket of gold-plated bronze from Duvanjsko polje is dated at the end of the 8th century. Archaeological find containing girdle trappings from Mogorjela near Capljina in Herzegovina is of Frankish origin dating from the 8th or 9th century. An iron buckle together with cross from Rusanovici on Glasinac region also belongs to the same group of artifacts. Great deal of ornaments can be divided into two cultural grups: into Dalmatian - Croatian group and Panonian group also known as the culture of Bijelo Brdo/White Mound. The ornaments pertaining to the first group appear as early as the 9th century and the same forms of it extend to the 12th and 13th century; the territory where the ornaments appear stretches as far as to the river Drina. Simple rings are rather often found as well as ear-rings containing small joints. All the ornaments of this sort are made in filigree technique and granulation.

Among the better known finding places are Grborezi, Kablic, Cipuljic near Bugojno and Mogorjelo near Capljina. These ornaments for last time reflect the late classic tradition by means of Byzantium goldsmiths\'s trades radiating from the Roman cities in Dalmatian theme/polity, though it was even then created by Slavic craftsmen.

A magnificent example of Frankish jewelry is represented by a
girdle clasp ( buckle ) made out of copper alloy with gilded layer and inscribed silver application. The buckle is adorned with geometrical and vegetable ornaments; in three places it is embellished with animal figures of insular style. It is created by a metallurgist TETGIS in the 8th century, the early Frankish period, although it contains certain elements of late Merovingian tradition.

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