Cross making

Skaidrė Urbonienė

Based on the iconographic and archive material as well as old and newly built monuments fixed during the expedition in 2006, the paper discusses the wooden old and new cross-making monuments in the area of Pašvitinys. The peculiarities in cross-making monuments are defined, their art expression is analysed, most typical features and specifities in such monuments are determined on a regional scale and that of all Lithuania.

Wooden crosses and chapel-poles are among the most popular monuments in the area of Pašvitinys, as is in the rest of Lithuania. The chapel poles erected in the second half of the 19th century are notable for a small chapel open from all sides with a four-slope roof and expressive metal top. A typical feature of the chapel-poles in the area studied is an enclosion of sculptures by openwork inner walls or trimmed edge plates. Such chapel poles are typical of entire North Lithuanian region (especially in the areas of Pakruojis and Joniškis of the Šiauliai County), and they had reached even Middle Lithuania. Wooden crosses, chapel poles and small chapels erected in the first half of the 20th century were more modest. The crosses typical of the North Lithuanian region were most widely spread; they have perhaps a single decoration, i.e., the ends of the crosspieces are of a trefoil or ball shape, and a simple small chapel is hanged at the crossing place or there is a small Crucifix covered by a small roof. Single bar crosses or two-barred ones made by Jonas Remeika with a small niche or a chapel at the base of the cross introduce certain specificity into the cross making in this area during the first half of the 20th century.

General tendencies in choosing the images prevailed in Pašvitinys area, as in the rest of Lithuania; i.e., the images for the monuments had been chosen according to the world-view of village people, their interests and strivings related to basic persons of Catholic faith (from the life of Jesus Christ and Saint Mary), as well as the patrons of the most important life spheres, such as family, farming, agriculture, animals (St.Joseph, St. George, St.John of Nepomuk).

New monuments are being erected few but there are efforts to hold to the North Lithuanian traditions by choosing monuments traditional for this area, i.e., chapel poles with open chapels and modestly decorated crosses.