Besides developing and enriching the Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database
in general, the year 2012 has been dedicated to one project in particular: Magical gems in the Visegrad countries
, a standard grant programme sponsored by the International Visegrad Fund
. The project has focused on collecting all the magical gems preserved in museums of the Visegrad Group
countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia -, and intergrating them into the database in order to make them better accessible for research. The project was headed by the Museum of Fine Arts
in Budapest, our partners have been: Masaryk University in Brno, The National Museum in Warsaw and Trnava University in Trnava.
By the end of the programme, we have collected seventy-eight gems - a surprisingly high number - in seventeen institutions of the four countries. Most of these pieces are now openly accessible in the database
. The selection criteria for gems was somewhat less strict than what is otherwise followed in CBd: since many of these collections are relatively little known internationally, and publications are also hard to access, besides magical gems in the narrow sense of the term, we decided to include all the gems that may have been used as amulets (for our definitions of magical vs. amulet gems, see the CBd-Glossary
- in statu nascendi).
The project has shed light on many interesting aspects of magical gems and their use - ancient and post-antique - in the Central European region, once forming the north-eastern outpost of the Roman empire and the area outside its frontiers. New facts have come to light concerning the find spot of some pieces (see for example CBd-1456
), and their usage in antiquity (CBd-1554). Gems reused in medieval times also merit interest, such as a jasper gryllos in a 9th century belt finial (CBd-1226) and a white chalcedony Chnoubis mounted in the 13th century reliquary of St. Mauritius (CBd-1230, see image above).