Snow Leopard Lot of Two Terracotta Reliefs Byzantine Empire XI-XII C. AD Handcrafted from Regional Museum of History Stara Zagora, Bulgaria Museum Reproduction TM0001
Four of the plates with relief images of leopard, griffin, peacock and double-headed eagle were discovered in 1907 in the water supply zone, 1.5 km north of the top of Stara Zagora Spring. The fifth plate depicting a leopard breastfeeding was discovered in 1957 about 300 m west of the top of Ayazmoto. Another similar plaque depicting a woman playing the flute on the same stone base as the previous ones was found in the area between Stara Zagora and Nova Zagora. In terms of workmanship and material, it also belongs to the group of Stara Zagora reliefs.
For the specialists in Old Bulgarian art and history (professors Mavrodinov, Vaklinov, Filov, Gerasimov, Gyuzelev) there is no doubt that the Stara Zagora stone sculptures must date back to the time of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, on the border between the pagan and Christian epochs. Nevertheless, surprisingly in the expositions of the Archaeological Museum of Sofia and of RIM – Stara Zagora and in a number of editions they are dated XI – XII century, ie. during the Byzantine rule over the Bulgarian lands. For these reasons, these sculptures are not yet officially classified as early Bulgarian medieval art, despite their enormous cultural and historical value.
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