Manual Intelligence

Date
24/01/2019 (Spoleto) - 29/01/2019 (Roma)- 21/07/2018
Region
Umbria e Lazio
Town
Spoleto e Roma
Subject
Craft Production and Techniques

Manual Intelligence: Craft Production and Techniques in the Lombard Period

The purpose of this exhibition is to illustrate the productive abilities of the Lombards inItalyand identify the processes that led this people to combine its technical heritage with the Roman-Byzantine patrimony of Mediterranean origin.

TheLombardshad a certain vocation for metallurgy (in line with the rest of the Germanic world’s high technological level of production processes), distinguishing themselves in the manufacture of jewellery, weapons and tools.

At the time of their migration fromPannoniatoItaly(AD 568), theLombards’ metallurgical arts had already largely been perfected; this is shown by the discovery of the graves of blacksmiths/craftsmen, and above all by the high quality of the objects produced and the processing methods employed.

Thus it is not surprising that in the 7th-8th century the blacksmith/craftsman had become important enough to be known by –and sign with – the title of magister.

Possible craft workshops have been identified both in urban and rural contexts, particularly in northern Italy; their presence is also documented by grave goods that include tools of the trade and crucibles. Early Medieval written sources help to clarify the complex scenario of production processes, as do the archaeological discoveries made in the Crypta Balbi workshop inRome.

The metal objects selected to illustrate theLombards’ craftsmanship mostly come from the Nocera Umbra (PG) and Castel Trosino (AP) cemeteries, and were made using various techniques: casting, cloisonné, punching, filigree, damascening, and niello.

Brief reference is also made to pottery production, which has clearly distinctive features.