Dokumentacja zabytkowego złotnictwa
Documentation of historic silver work
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Our scientists’ long-year neglect of research into historic silver work was a result of the absence of the general literature of the subject. This fact induced me to elaborate the old technology and terminology of silver work, because I regarded these publications as a basis for future research. Then, the key problem was access to the monuments concerned, and the only solution was to create relevant documentation in the field. The main source of research into historic silver work turned out to be church silver-chests. However, the political situation in which this documentation was to be prepared was complex. A “civil servant” willing to describe and photograph monuments was not welcome by an average pastor already at the start. Church silvers were protected against disclosure with particular care, because they were thought to be the most tempting objects for the government. In this situation, in order to create an opportunity to carry out significant research on silver work, I prepared a special documentation scheme, which was adopted as a valid standard in the Centre. The main trend of planned activities was a detailed photo documentation, which enabled the researcher to become familiar with an object without the need to carry out field explorations. The next step was to find a way to open cabinets in sacristies of parish churches and cathedral treasuries and to prepare full documentation for all objects that can be defined as monuments of silver work. These ambitious intentions were remarkably put into practice by Wacław Górski – a photographer from the Nicolaus Copernicus University (NCU), who was trusted by church authorities and had access to monuments put in their care. The elaboration of documentation took 20 years – from 1981 to 2001. Together with his team of assistants (students of NCU), Górski visited hundreds of churches, where he often found magnificent treasures of silver work. Documentation was prepared for 18,500 objects in the Gdańsk and Gniezno archdioceses and Pelplin, Toruń, Elbląg, Płock, Włocławek and Kalisz dioceses. In 2001, the management of the Centre decided to suspend documentary work with regard to historic silver work in Poland. However, the huge set of documentation created until then was hundred times fruitful, serving as a basis for a series of scientific studies, including master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. A full insight into the said documentation is provided by The catalogue of silver work in the set of specialist documentation of the National Centre for Research and Documentation of Monuments in Warsaw ( Katalog złotnictwa w zbiorze dokumentacji specjalistycznej Krajowego Ośrodka Badań i Dokumentacji Zabytków w Warszawie, Warszawa 2006), which I prepared together with Magdalena Pielas.
- 35 lat pracował w Ośrodku Dokumentacji Zabytków, początkowo jako kierownik Działu Wydawnictw, potem zainicjował i redagował serię słowników terminologicznych. Zainicjował i opracował wraz z Kazimierzem Mardoniem system komputeryzacji kart ewidencyjnych zabytków. Zainicjował i kierował dokumentacją specjalistyczną złotnictwa. Był współzałożycielem i przez 20 lat kierownikiem naukowym Muzeum Sztuki Złotniczej w Kazimierzu.
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