A few remarks on East Prussia goldsmith heritage in Lithuania

  • Dalia Vasiliūnienė
Keywords: East Prussian goldsmithing, Königsberg, Tilsit, Otto Schwerdfeger, Johann Kownatzky, Michael Greiffenhagen II


The newly identified goldsmiths’ works of East Prussia are presented in the article: a chalice from Kaunas St. Cross Church forged by Otto Schwerdfeger, a master in Königsberg, in 1704 (?), a ciborium from Vilnius St. Apostles Peter and Paul Church made by goldsmith Johann Kownatzky in Tilsit in the 1760–80s, and a monstrance from Valakbūdis Church made by Michael Greiffenhagen II, a master from Tilsit, in 1795 (?). After the World War II, East Prussia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Destruction of the region and its historical memory and enormous losses of the cultural heritage partly resulted in knowledge gaps in Lithuania about the goldsmithing in this region. For the knowledge of goldsmith history in East Prussia, works by Eugen von Czihak, a German scientist, based on the information collected before the First and Second World Wars are very important. The goldsmithing of Eastern Prussia is pretty seldom mentioned in the Lithuanian historiography. Only sparsely survived works by Königsberg, Tilsit and Klaipėda (Memel) masters from the 17th – 19th century have been published. On the contrary, the context of Lithuanian goldsmith history is described based on data provided by the German writings. According to our knowledge, the goldsmith heritage from Königsberg predominates in Lithuania. Not a few goldsmith works from Tilsit were also identified in Lithuania. The works of Eastern Prussian goldsmiths are of particular value. Because of the dramatic fate of Königsberg region, the survived number of goldsmith works throughout Europe is relatively low.
Visual Art