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Zograf  2004 

A teratological motif in the ceramoplastic decoration of the Virgin Ljevi ka in Prizren: Iconology of apsidal three-light window

DOI: 10.2298/zog0530119m

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Abstract:

The author draws attention to two ceramoplastic details, symmetrical in relation to the vertical axis of apsidal three-light window, created at the ends of the band of a series of identical ceramoplastic patterns. Those details were recognized in earlier literature as "two small fish" of baked clay and are considered to be a unique example of this kind of motive in ceramoplastic decoration in Byzantine architecture, and in architecture inspired by it. The author advocates the verbal definition of the image and indicates that the said details can scarcely be described as fish. He finds a new matrix, to which the images correspond, in the linearly depicted heads of snake-like and dragon-like monsters that appear in the repertoire of teratological ornamentation. The author indicates that the altar window of the church of Virgin Ljevi ka in Prizren is encircled by a double asp, a symbol of the evil of this world. He stresses that the design of this altar window is divided into two areas in the iconological sense like the western portals in Studenica and De ani The external represents this sinful world and the internal, symbolized by the victory cross of Christ (IG XC NH Kfl) represents the community of the faithful in Christ, i.e. the side of good. A comparison is drawn for the first time in the text, between the ceramoplastic decoration on the fa ade of the church and the teratological ornamentation on the pages of the book.

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