2.2. DEVELOPMENT OF ART TRADES WITH MIAKS
Speaking of the artistic trades in this area one comes to a conclusion that it was an extraordinary phenomenon deeply stemmed in their being. Therefore, we can talk about the characteristics – a feature, skill, which for a century backward were transferred to the coming generations, most frequently within the framework of a family. Deliberating their achievements particularly in the period between XVIII and XIX century, one realises its specificity i.e. exclusiveness in relation to the works of the families from the other areas.
Miak builders were founders of building and of the traditional house in the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula and the eastern part of Asia Minor. The origin of the building came from experience gained in these areas (material, construction, and manner of building); the organisation relied upon the individual needs of the user and commonly on people’s mentality in this region and was not burdened by foreign experience. The shaping was original, and possessed own identity. Building, as well as the other art trades, carving, and icon-painting, rose and developed on the basis of personal, deep, inner needs and outgrowth of the distinct, autonomous creative endowment of the individual, unfettered by the laws of artistic and building work at the time. In the investigation into the reaches of this architecture in comparison with the rest of traditional architecture in the quoted region, it was found that certain immanent features distinguished it – particularly for its inclination towards adaptation and transformation thereby not losing its identity – and that spoke of the prominent role of Miak builders. Through their building activity, they fundamentally posed a certain definite object, adjusted to the climate and geography conditions and to the local traditions and people’s needs. Although an identical building procedure in the shaping of the construction and objects was applied all the time, in Miak region the manufacture of material had attained the level of perfection, so it contributed to the creation of a very specific object. Particular attention should be paid to the creative potential of the builders, who infused perfection both in the separate elements and in the object as a whole.
Through fortune seeking and migration Miak builders transmitted their experience in building throughout the territory of south Balkans and Asia Minor. In all areas where they operated, they encouraged the expansion of building and art trades among local population, so they became centres of headway of building and art in general.19F
Tracing the roots of the deep and pristine attitude of Miak tribe towards arts – carving, building, and icon painting, it is necessary to refer back to the main historical events and migrations at the time. The Slavic religious background, which in the form of an archetypal matrix was intensely engraved in the consciousness of the individual, was permanently permeated to a larger or smaller extent in the works of all tribes.
Nevertheless, what most profoundly and most quintessentially settled the being and work of this tribe was undoubtedly Bogomilism. Although there is a time distance of several centuries, yet we are dealing with the level of reception of Bogomil thought and its primary establishment in the fundamental being of the tribe. The duration of the period in which the tribe lived and existed according to its basic principles as well as the extent of acceptance of its thought will be the subject of further argument.
The rise of Bogomilism was in conjunction with the Dragovit tribe, from where Miaks originated. The being of this tribe, its yearning for freedom and integrity were the primary characteristics that provided the not only the starting initiative for the rise of Bogomilism, but they were centrally connected to its work and postulates. Soon after the headmost occurrences of this movement, it was widely welcomed by this tribe. All authors who treat the theme of Bogomilism underline that here the first organised church municipality appeared, and especially that the church of Dragovit was the most influental church municipality of the Bogomils. It had notable impact on the rest of the Bogomil municipalities in the southern part of the Balkans, and in the dissemination and organisation of this movement in Italy and southern France. All this undoubtedly left a deep and indelible sign in the life and beliefs of this tribe. Following the vehemently expressed feeling of individuality, peculiarity, and distinctiveness, and the constant yearning for true values – features which clearly distinguished it from the other tribes in the surroundings – and particularly the inclination to artistic work and markedly to master’s building, we unequivocally come to the fact that only a sufficiently firm philosophical and religious system, fiercely involved in the existence of this tribe could have such an impelling force.
The fundamental postulates of Bogomilism – its pivotal return to the basic ideals of Christ’s teaching – the equality of every individual, not only regarding religion but also in every day life, the rejection of church dogmas, in particular the rejection of the hierarchy feudal lord-peasant, not only presented the cardinal initiative but were the most effective moving agents in the continuous tracing and strengthening of tribe’s own distinctiveness. The steady organisation of Bogomil Church within the framework of this tribe and with its uninterrupted work reinforced the deep individuality, the free spirit, and the constant strife for true values, i.e. what is typical of artistic work. The invariable resistance to church dogmas, and specially to becoming a peasant, fortified these attributes of the tribe, which for century onwards kept the tribal order.
The single strong and widely accepted revolutionary movement from the period, with its religious and acutely social programme, formed the essence and the work of the tribe and each separate individual. The intense and primeval connection with the aims of this movement was discovered centuries onwards, in the features of the tribe, and in the individual himself.
In the history, tradition, and in many elements of this tribe’s work, we can find the incessant influence and primary relation with the basics of this movement. Their migration, i.e. the selection of the area for organisation in the villages in the most isolated regions of western Macedonia was absolutely not accidental. The position of the central villages so as to be visible only in the moments when they were immediately approached, i.e. the natural remoteness as well as the accessibility only via horse paths, made it possible for this tribe in the Middle-Ages feudal society to sustain the tribal system and develop its work independently.
19. Serdenkovska M., VLIJANIETO NA MIJACKITE GRADITELI VRZ RAZVOJOT NA GRADITELSTVOTO I GRADBATA NA BALKANOT I MALA AZIJA, Zbornik, Muzej na Makedonija, Skopje, 2000