May 20, 2016

A scarecrow of immense value

Scattered heritage


In 1931, a villager in the Bitola region had an odd, whitewashed scarecrow on his field. It wasn't odd because it was whitewashed, but because the scarecrow was in fact an ancient statue. He'd discovered it by chance in his vineyard near Bitola. After the sculpture reached Belgrade and was cleaned, it was found to be a rare ancient piece – a copy of Athena Parthenos of Phidias, whose original wasn't saved. The statue is still in the National Museum in Belgrade, and it includes most details that were in the original.

This statue isn't the only such example in the Belgrade museum. There are many ancient sculptures, reliefs and capitals from Early Christian temples, which were taken away from Stobi before World War II. Most of those sculptures were found in the luxurious Parthenius Palace in Stobi. In addition to these ancient masterpieces, the museum has two exceptionally valuable statues dating from the 2nd century BC: the Satyr Musician and the Satyr Dancer, also known as the Big and Small Satyrs. Furthermore, there are several more objects, the value of which has placed them among the most significant in world's archaeology: an archaic relief of Pan, a girl's head, a nymph's head, the head of Orpheus, a figure of the goddess Aphrodite, and other marble pieces. There are also fragments of frescoes, which are rarities, as well as 5th century decorated capitals from the Episcopal basilica in Stobi, which is one of the largest church buildings discovered in Macedonia.

In the Belgrade National Museum's ancient collection there are also two terra-cotta pieces discovered in Grešnica near Bitola: a Bust of a Girl, and a Woman shrouded in a pelos. A few portraits done in marble, discovered near Resen and Štip, are also in the possession of this Belgrade museum, which is immensely rich in archaeological objects of Macedonian origin.

To be continued...

Nove Cvetanoski

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