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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, February 15, 1932

Finance Ministry
Budapest
15.II.32Monday.

Just a line, dearest Mildred, to say that I have some recent publications by Fettich and Féher [sic],Géza Fehér (1890–1955), a Hungarian archaeologist who worked in Bulgaria as a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and specialized in the Protobulgar period. on Nagy-St. Miklos,The Nagy Saint Miklos (Nagyszentmiklós) treasure, a collection of twenty-three early medieval gold vessels, variously dated between the sixth and tenth centuries, found in 1799 in Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary, in the Habsburg Empire (modern Sânnicolau Mare, Romania). The treasure was transferred to the Imperial Collection (now Kunsthistorisches Museum), Vienna. and the Avar-Magyar connexions, and on Szilágy Somlyó,The Szilágy Somlyó (Szilágysomlyó) treasure, consisting of an onyx fibula, ten pairs of fibulas decorated with gold and jewels, a swearing-in ring, and three gold bowls, was found in 1889 at what is now Şimleul Silvaniei, Romania. It is housed in the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest. An earlier discovery, in 1797, of a separate part of the buried Szilágy Somlyó treasure is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The books probably included Nándor Fettich, A szilágysomlyói második kincs: Der zweite Schatz von Szilágysomlyó, Archaeologia Hungarica 8 (Budapest: s.n., 1932); and Géza Fehér, Les monuments de la culture protobulgare et leurs relations hongroises, Archaeologia Hungarica 7 (Budapest: s.n., 1931). See also letter of March 31, 1932. which are of immense interest, and I think would supply you with material for a talk at BA“Buenos Aires.” which couldn’t fail to be gratefully received by anyone who is at all curious about Völkerwanderung“Migration of peoples.” The Migration Period was a period of the migration of European populations between about 400 and 800 CE. and the art of those mysterious peoples.For this talk, see letter of November 11, 1931.

Before sending you these publications, which are rather expensive (though not bulky or long to read) I want to know where you want them sent, and also what your programme is—so please on receipt of this send me a cable to Hungarotel Bpest.

In two words, recent discoveries have proved that Nagy St. Miklos (the so-called Attila treasure in Vienna) is Avar. Féher [sic] has done remarkable work in this direction, and quite recently an earthenware vase was found, in an Avar grave in a typical Avar cemetery, decorated with exactly the same motive

identical to the minutest detail, as one of the Nagy St. Miklos gold vases.See Joachim Henning, Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe and Byzantium, vol. 2, Byzantium, Pliska, and the Balkans (Berlin and New York: W. de Gruyter, 2007), 316. AND, the other day, in my presence, Fettich found in an Avar grave at Ullo (25 k. from here) two sorts of hairpins, which the Avars used to keep their two pig-tails in place, adorned with a most peculiar motive which occurs on one of the N. St. Miklos gold pots and nowhere else

repeated ad infinitum. There are lots of other connexions—in fact all the motives on the N. St. Miklos vases, with hardly any exceptions (since last Monday) can be found on Avar ornaments.

Another wonder recent find: a Riemenzunge“Strap end.” with a representation of an Avar horseman, at full gallop, shooting with the bow—and very Chink he looks. Several absolutely Chink skulls in that Ullo cemetery, and side by side with them, beaked-nosed skulls fr. W. and N. Europe!In “Die Reiternomadenkultur von Minussinsk,” in Metallkunst der Landnehmenden Ungarn, Archaeologica Hungarica 21 (Budapest: s.n., 1937), 202, Fettich observed that Avar art shows a strong affinity to the last Siberian style of Minusunsk, known as the Nomad Horsemen style.

Fettich is doing wonderful work. He gets practically nothing from the State—and I’m not in a strong position to help him there, but a few private people help, and a little goes a long way.

Bless you, dearest Mildred.

Yrs
R. T.

 
Associated People: Nándor Fettich