SIGNS OF THE TIMES - IMAGES ON BANKNOTES FROM BALKAN COUNTRIES (1944 - 1990)
Keywords:images on banknote emissions, second half of 20th century, semantics, symbolics, societal relations, architecture
Ever since antiquity monetary units have been used as means of exchange in economy, commerce, etc. As an archive of visual images, they contain a broad range of information about historical events, ruling institutions and state authorities, everyday life and culture. Paper banknotes appear much later in time. They inherit the traditions in the artistic and decorative design of monetary units (broadly speaking) and in parallel to societal development their design incorporates new forms. Additionally, banknotes are a rich source of information about the state systems, the forms of social and societal relations, values (mindset), doctrines, fashion, etc.
The current study presents banknotes from the second half of the 20-th century, emitted in several Balkan countries: Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia and Greece. They are viewed through the perspective of art analysis. The article outlines the reproduction of architectural objects onto the banknotes, analysed in a much broader context. The latter concerns the prevailing political, ideological, value-related and cultural atmosphere of those times.
The following questions are posed during the analysis of the banknote sample:
What is represented onto the banknotes and why?
How is it represented?
What are the messages in the architectural images and the affiliated motifs?
The interpretation of the selected banknote sample is elaborated from a historical and cultural-anthropological perspective. The article highlights both the specific and the common in the reproduced images onto the banknotes of the above countries. The signs of the past and the related images are presented in terms of their underlying contents.