Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I was completely taken with these locks from the height of the Republic of Ragusa, of which Dubrovnik was the capital. For many hundreds of years this small and wealthy maritime city-state held its own against the Venetians on the North and the Ottoman Empire on the East and South. Their maritime prowess was surprising, given their size and their small population; they were one of Venice's biggest competitors in sea trade; the Ottomans saw them as an important port, and treated with them accordingly.
And so, of course, they needed good trunks to lock up their valuables.
These are a few of the trunks I saw at the Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik. The lock mechanisms fascinated me, because they seem to use curved levers to shift movement from vertical to horizontal, and vice versa. Enjoy.
This one uses steel arcs to shift movement around the surface of the lid, opening or releasing the bolts into the locks, which are on the walls of the trunk. ( I have a picture of this but haven't been able to find it - I'll keep looking). I spent about half an hour staring at this, following the mechanism. It's superb.
This lock uses a snake motif to distract you from understanding the mechanism. I itched to play around with it to find out how it worked; but alas, there was an attentive docent...