17 Jan 2024

The Goldsmith Guilds in Karlovo, Panagyurishte, and Pazardzhik and Their Production for the Church (18th–19th century)

Author: Principal Assist. Prof. Darina Boykina, PhD from the Fine Arts Sector
 In problematic module Bulgarian Cultural Heritage in European and World Context,
Work on the project is suspended from 07.12.2023 to 07.12.2025. (Scholarly Council, decision 10/15.12.2023)
Object of study. The study will focus on the systematization and analysis of written sources of all kinds, reflecting the history of the goldsmith guilds in Karlovo, Panagyurishte and Pazardzhik, as well as on the study of church plate, which can be attributed to the production of goldsmith workshops in these settlements. Of particular importance to the topic are the Register of the goldsmith’s guild in Karlovo (History Museum – Karlovo), the Register of the goldsmith’s guild in Pazardzhik (Regional History Museum – Pazardzhik), the Register of the goldsmith’s guild in Panagyurishte (History Museum – Panagyurishte), written information about goldsmiths and goldsmith’s guilds in church registers, Ottoman documents, archival materials, inscriptions on objects; the collections of church plate in Regional History Museum – Pazardzhik, History Museum – Karlovo and History Museum – Panagyurishte. If possible, the liturgical objects located in the churches in the towns of Pazardzhik, Karlovo and Panagyurishte and in other settlements in the region will be studied, which are known to store production of the three goldsmith’s guilds.
State of research. Evidence of the presence of goldsmith guilds in Bulgarian cities and their production of religious and secular character have attracted the attention of researchers from the beginning of the twentieth century onward (D. Drumev, V. Angelov, E. Genova, M. Ivanov, Sn. Blagoeva, L. Maslinkov, Yu. Shulekova, N. Petkova, and others), and those in Karlovo, Pazardzhik and Panagyurishte, are no exception. There is still a lack of systematic study of the sources and preserved goldsmith’s works, placing them in a historical context and an attempt at in-depth analysis. Information, photographs, and descriptions of some goldsmiths' works by Pazardzhik and Panagyurishte goldsmiths appear in the literature of the 1920s. Registers are mentioned in publications from the 1950s and 1970s. No goldsmith works have been introduced into scientific circulation, which can certainly be attributed to the work of the goldsmiths in Karlovo, nor have the aforementioned registers of the goldsmith guilds in the three settlements been fully published, the liturgical objects in the local churches have not been documented and published.
The scientific novelty of the project consists in a study of unpublished sources and goldsmith works related to the production of the goldsmith guilds in Karlovo, Panagyurishte and Pazardzhik.
Objectives and scientific application of the study. The aim of the planning project is to introduce into scientific circulation unpublished material that will enrich the knowledge of goldsmithing in the region of Central Southern Bulgaria, and this will help build a clearer idea of the development and state of goldsmithing art during the period of Ottoman rule and especially the 18th–19th centuries. The reason for focusing attention on these three goldsmith guilds is the presence of a sufficient amount of written information, as well as goldsmith works that have not been published so far. This allows for a thorough and precise analysis of goldsmithing in Karlovo, Pazardzhik, and Panagyurishte. The scientific and applied aspect of the study consists in the presentation of systematized information on a topic that is relatively poorly developed, the publication of new sources and goldsmith works that could be used by a wide range of specialists, lecturers, students, and doctoral students in the field of humanities and the arts.
Actuality in accordance with the priorities of the scientific field. In recent years, the study of the guilds on the territory of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans in the 19th century has become a topical scientific issue. The goldsmith guilds and their production are no exception in this trend. Confirmation of this are a number of publications by Bulgarian and foreign researchers dealing with the study of the church plate, the professional organization and the demographic profile of the population in the Ottoman Empire. Against this background, it can be said that the proposed project is consistent with the trends in modern science.
Work program by years and stages: within two years, a study of written sources and archival materials, documentation of goldsmiths’ works, analysis of the collected material, summaries and conclusions.
Genre of the study and expected volume: interdisciplinary research with an approximate volume of 100 pages.
Material and technical support: the work on the proposed topic will be financed through its own funds and through a personal grant under the first stage of the National Program for Young Scientists and Postdoctoral Students – 2, contract No. 55-RD/01.02.2023, topic: Goldsmith Art in Bulgaria during the Bulgarian Revival (According to Sources and Documents from the Bulgarian Archives).
Prospects for cooperation: the work on the proposed planning project provides for cooperation with local museums and church institutions.
Printing opportunities: two publications in specialized editions.
Thematic module of the scientific plan of the Institute: Bulgarian Cultural Heritage in European and World Context.
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