Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection, the movable items

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 16 to 22 May 2006 the Commission adopted a






The movable items of Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of 5 items.

The National Monument is the property of Armin Nikšić and is housed in the family house and business premises of Armin Nikšić in Varda street, Konjic.




The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, and display the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




In order to ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • the items in the collection shall be labelled,
  • the collection shall be presented.


The protection measures stipulated above shall be carried out by the owner of the National Monument in line with conditions to be determined by the Federal ministry responsible for culture and under the expert supervision of the said ministry.




Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




The removal of the complete collection or individual parts thereof (hereinafter: the movable heritage) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for temporary removal under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission), if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the movable heritage in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the movable heritage from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V of this Decision.




The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


No: 04-02-156/05-2

17 May 2006



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

On 26 April 2005 the Office of Economic, Financial and Social Affairs of Konjic Municipality submitted to the Commission in Sarajevo a proposal to designate the movable items of Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection in Konjic as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the movable items of Armin Nikšić’s family furniture collection in Konjic as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation and items were inspected:

  • Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection in Konjic,
  • existing literature

The findings based on the review of the above documentation and an inventory of the items are as follows:


1. Details of the property


The items in Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection are housed in the family house and business premises of Armin Nikšić in Varda street, Konjic.

Historical information

The travel chronicler Heinrich Renner twice stayed in Konjic, in 1885 and 1885, and wrote about the woodcarving of Konjic as follows:

 «It is also worth recommending the direct outing from Konjic to the Bijela valley, which we have already referred to.  Here very fine woodcarving and items are made, particularly the chests in which the peasants keep their clothes and valuables.» (Renner, 1899, 295).

This is also one of the first items of information in writing on the craft of woodcarving in Konjic.  However, Konjic was already known prior to this for its many talented woodcarvers.

It was before Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina that the skills of woodcarving were introduced to the Konjic region, or in other words the upper reaches of the river Neretva (from Bijela to Grušča) by labourer-woodcarvers who moved here from Herzegovina.  They centred on the villages of Grušča, Ribari, Čičevo and Bijela. The best-known woodcarving families in Grušča were the Fršić, Brkan, Bubalo and Tabak families, in Ribari the Bajić family, and in the village of Čičevo members of the Šmrkić family (Mulić, 1990, 135).  The village of Bijela is also referred to in an 1892 tourist guide to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a place in which there are to be found «very attractive woodcarving and other wooden items.» (Mulić, 1990, 137).  Generally speaking, as well as in the villages, these items could be purchased at fairs in the surrounding areas, and at times a peasant or two would take his products as far even as Dalmatia.  However, there was no organized sales mechanism.

The Austro-Hungarian period brought many changes to society.  The ever growing demand for «European goods» led to the gradual decline of individual esnafs (guilds) or crafts. In order to rescue some of these from immediate decline, the Austro-Hungarian authorities took certain steps to prevent crafts from dying out.  It was in this context that state workshops were set up, to which trained specialists – architects, artists, technologists of varioius kinds, chemists – were brought.  In 1885 the Provincial Arts and Crafts Workshop was set up in Sarajevo.  The workshop had six departments: the departments of marquetry, of intarsia, of enchasing, of engraving, of electroplating and enamelling, and of joinery and cabinet-making.  The workshop was also a school where full-time education lasted four years.  In addition, courses lasting from four to six months were held.  It was from this workshop that the so-called Sarajevo school evolved, representing a specific style of high-quality carved wooden furniture. The school was a model and a source of imitation of the technique of surface carving for many craftsmen.

In performing their administrative duties in the villages around Konjic, Austro-Hungarian civil servants observed the gifted village woodcarvers.  In 1894 a teacher from the Sarajevo workshop, who was visiting the village of Bijela, submitted an exhaustive report to the Provincial Administration on the woodcarving of Konjic.  The report notes that the ornamentation is of primitive expression, but that the importance of these products cannot be denied, since they are evidence of considerable talent (Mulić, 1990, 140).

After this, organized training began for the Konjic woodcarvers in the Provincial Arts and Crafts Workshop. Ilija Arapović, from the village of Donja Bijela near Konjic, was the first woodcarver to complete a course in Sarajevo and to return to Konjic, following which many more attended full-time education or courses in the Workshop.

In 1905 the Provincial Arts and Crafts Workshop in Sarajevo drew up a plan to train woodcarvers in Konjic, and submitted it to the Provincial Government for BiH for consideration.  The Provincial Government for BiH forwarded it to the Common Finance Ministry in Vienna with an explanatory note that «. . . of late the District Office in Konjic has been concerned with the development of woodcarving, which represents a significant source of funds for a large number of families in the Bijela district and the town of Konjic.» (Mulić, 1990, 152).  In early 1906, after approval was granted, the carpenter Ivan Ramljak came to Konjic to hold the first woodcarving course.  Along with a few other teachers, Ramljak held courses in Konjic until 1911, when he officially registered his workshop.  Until just before the end of the Austro-Hungarian period he trained future woodcarvers in the workshop as part of a three-year full-time apprenticeship.  On completion of their apprenticeship, the woodworkers usually opened their own carpentry and joinery workshops.  One of the first to be opened was that of Sulejman Hadžizukić (1885-1947), under whom Ismail Mulić learned his trade.  It was this generation of trained carpenters and joiners who were later the proponents of the woodcarving of Konjic.

Simultaneously with these events, the woodcarvers of Konjic also took part in international exhibitions.  Among the first to show his produced was Ilija Arapović, at the Millennium Exhibition in Budapest in 1896.  He also took part in the exhibition in Vienna in 1898, where he obtained a medal and diploma for his sehara (wooden chest used by girls to keep their trousseau in) and stool (small stool, often hexagonal). Another who took part in this same exhibition was Mato Lozinović. Ilija Logarić took part in the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1897.

The background of the Armin Nikšić workshop is in the Rukotvorina (Handwork) workshop, founded by the brothers Adem and Meho Nikšić.  They set it up in 1928, but in 1933 Meho pulled out and Adem took over the workshop.  After World War II Adem Nikšić worked in the District Woodcarving Corporation in Konjic.

Adem's sons Besim and Mukerem followed in his footsteps, opening their own workshop in 1960.  After Mukerem died in 1989, his son Armin set up his own workshop under the name Nikšić Bros.  By decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments the family's furniture enjoys protected status.


2. Description of the property:

Only wood from the Konjic region is used to make carved items.  The woods most commonly used are fruit woods – walnut, pear, cherry, apple and mulberry – but maplewood, wafer ash, elm, oak and beech are also used.

In order to meet the quality required for carved products, the wood must possess certain specific mechanical and aesthetic characteristics.  Most important of all, it must have a degree of elasticity, rigidity and resistance to wear, while the most important aesthetic qualities it must possess are colour, texture, brilliance and fineness of the wood.

The wood was usually bought from sawmills (Mulić, 1985, 15).

The woodworking part of the work consisted of two parts.  First the various components of intended item would be cut somewhat larger than the required size, after which it would be cut back to size, and the appropriate holes and pegs made.  The item would be «dry assembled» to check that the sizes were correct, and to determine the surfaces to be carved and with what kind of work.  The item would then be marked up and dismantled, and the relevant parts carved.  After the carving was complete, the item would be reassembled with carpenter's glue.

The surface areas of the items were treated in two ways.  Items made of wood of one colour would be left with the natural colour showing, while those made of varicoloured woods would be stained.

The woodcarving method used in Konjic is extremely interesting, and rarely used in other regions.  While rural woodcarving made use only of a small knife to achieve plane-relief designs, and for high relief only of a chisel with a handle that was used both for cutting and for carving out wood to shape the relief, the Konjic woodcarvers used a chisel without a handle for cutting and one with a handle to carve out the wood.  The use of both types of chisel resulted in a relief effect (Mulić, 1985, 16).

The carving process consisted of several stages, depending on the kind of ornamentation and effects required.  The order was as follows:

a.     Drawing is the process of outlining the required design on the wood in pencil using a ruler and calipers. Not all the details of the surface to be carved are drawn, only the basic lines. This is the process used for «Bosnian ornament.» In the case of Arabic and deep-cut ornament, since the design is not composed of straight lines, a stencil or template is used, which can be used over and over again.  The stencil is cut out of thick waxed paper to ensure it lasts longer.  First the appropriate design is drawn, and the areas to be carved are cut out.    The stencil is laid on the wood, and the design transferred using a brush moistened with a dark stain.  This leaves the required design on the wood as a negative, and the wood is ready for decorating.

b.     Decorating or cutting is a technique of cutting the wood along the lines drawn.  This is done by means of a metal chisel struck perpendicularly by a hammer.  By using a combination of suitable tools, the decorated surface is ready for the next stage – gouging.  The depth of the cut depends on the type of decoration, and ranges from two to five millimetres, or sometimes even deeper.  The plank on which the decoration is being carved must be laid on a level base, lest the force of the blows cause it to crack.

c.      Gouging is the process of hollowing out the wood to the depth of the cut made during cutting.

d.     Embellishment or decoration is used in the case of Bosnian ornament and deep-cut ornament if individual details on a rose, leaf or leaflet on the carved item are to be highlighted.

e.     Copanje is used in the case of Arabic and deep-cut decoration, but rarely in the case of Bosnian decoration (Mulić, 1985, 8-14).


When embellishing their work, the woodcarvers of Konjic used the following types of ornamentation on the basis of this kind of work:

§         «Bosnian ornament»(1) arose from a merger between individual elements of rural woodcarving and the carved designs of the oriental house (on musanderas, interior doors, šiše ceilings and wall cupboards).  Typical of «Bosnian ornament» is a network of rhomboids, squares or hexagons, or talisum(2), as the Konjic craftsmen calll them (Mulić, 1985, 6).

§         Arabic decoration was adopted from buildings of Islamic architecture.  The rich arabesque decoration is composed of intertwined geometric and stylized floral and foliage lines.  It is harder to work than «Bosnian ornament» (Mulić, 1985, 7).

§         Deep-cut decoration is the hardest of all to do, and it is here that the individuality of the craftsman comes into play.  The designs of deep-cut decoration are mainly of floral or foliar origin, usually vines with bunches of grapes, oak leaves with acorns, and other fruits, depending on the intended use of the carved item  (Mulić, 1985, 7-8).


In all three kinds of decoration, rešma (chain, linked or meshwork) features as additional decoration for edging carved surfaces, frames and finishes on various products.  This is the simplest technique, and is carried out as a single, double or multirowed chain.  This is most commonly used in the case of «Bosnian decoration,» while in the case of deep-cut ornament it is used only as edging or framing.  In the case of Arabic decoration it is rarely used; when it is, it is usually on the frames and finishes of the carved item (Mulić, 1985, 7-8).

Items in Armin Nikšić’s family furniture collection

Description of the items:


Inventory no.: 1

Technique: carving, varnishing

Date: c. 1927(3)   


-     sides:

o        height 176 cm

o        width 43 cm

o        depth 34.5 cm

-     central section:

o        height 188 cm

o        width 80 cm

o        depth 41 cm


The cabinet is made of walnut wood and has been stained dark.

Visually, it can be divided into three vertical sections.  The sides are identical, but the central section differs.

The sides can be divided bottom to top into three sections.  The lower and central sections are small cupboards with a single door. Above the cupboards is an upper section consisting of a shelf, enclosed at the front by a stylized arch.

The central section of the cabinet is composed of four elements.  The lower consists of a small cupboard with double doors.  Above each door flap of the cupboard is a drawer, and above these another small cupboard with double doors. 

The central section of the cabinet terminates in a shelf enclosed at the top by a drawn-out stylized arch.

The entire surface of the cabinet is decorated with carved motifs of vines, rosettes, rhombs and arcades.


Inventory no.: 2

Technique: carving, varnishing

Date: c. 1927


-     length: 200 cm

-     height: 24 cm


The shelf is of walnut wood and stained dark.  It is a decorated wall-mounted shelf. The entire surface is decorated with carved motifs, mainly rhombs.


Inventory no.: 3

Technique: carving,  varnishing

Date: c. 1927


-     Height 185 cm

-     Width 98.5 cm

-     Depth 44 cm


The corner cabinet is made of walnut wood stianed dark.  It can be divided into four sections from bottom to top.

The bottom section consists of three shelves enclosed by a stylized arch.

Above these shelves, the central section of the cabinet consists of a small cupboard with double doors. On each side of the cupboard are two shelves enclosed by a stylized arch.

The next section consists of three shelves, also enclosed by a stylized arch.  The central shelf area is rather longer than the outer shelf areas. 

The fourth section is identical to the previous one.

The entire surface is decorated with geometric motifs.


Inventory no.: 4

Technique: carving,  varnishing

Date: c. 1927

Size: 54 x59 cm


The six-sided stool is made of walnut wood and varnished with clear varnish.  The top is decorated with a motif of a central rosette inscribed in a circle, from which intertwined vine branches with six bunches of grapes extend towards the outer edges.

The stool has six legs.  The apron between them is decorated with carved panels – the central panel forming a rhombus with a rosette. These carved aprons extend down to almost half the height of the stool, where the arches begin.


Inventory no.: 5

Technique: carving,  varnishing

Date: c. 1927

Size: 380 x 250 cm


The panel is made of walnut wood and stained ark.  The carved partition panel is in Armin Nikšić's workshop, where it separates the office area from the workshop itself.

The lower part of the partition panel is of solid wood, decorated with geometric and floral motifs.  The central part of the panel differs from the lower one in containing glazed squares (14 in all) in which photographs have been mounted.  The upper section of the wooden partition consists of glazed frames, arched at the top. The arch composes a mušebak latticework effect.  There is a door in the centre of the wooden partition.

The partition is decorated on both sides.


3. Legal status to date

Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection has not so far enjoyed the status of protection.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

Since the items in Armin Nikšić's family collection have not been subject to a protection regime, they have undergone no professional conservation and restoration works. 


5. Current condition of the property

The items in Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection are in good condition and kept regularly maintained.  Until details were recorded for the purpose of adopting a decision to designate the property as a national monument, the items had not been inventoried.  Staff members of the Commission carried out an inventory, but the inventory numbers allotted to the items are inadequate.




Pursuant to the above, and applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision to designate Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection as a national monument.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C. i. quality of workmanship

C.ii. quality of materials

C.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

C. v. value of details

D. Clarity

D.ii. evidence of historical change

D. iv. evidence of a particular type, style or regional manner

D. v. evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

E. Symbolic value

E.iii. traditional value

E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.ii. material and content

G.iii. use and function

G.iv. traditions and techniques

I. Completeness

I.i. physical coherence

I.ii. homogeneity

I.iii. completeness

I.iv. undamaged condition



During the procedure to designate Armin Nikšić's family furniture collection in Konjic as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1899.    Heinrich Renner, (trans. from the German by V. Drekalović), Herceg-Bosnom uzduž i poprijeko (Through the length and breadth of Herceg-Bosna) Mitrovica, 1899.


1985.    Šemsudin Mulić, Jnl of the National Museum (E) N.S. vol. 40. Razvoj konjičkog drvorezbarstva i put u savremeno (Development of woodcarving in Konjic and the road to modernity) Sarajevo, 1985, 1-28


1990.    Jusuf Mulić, Konjic i njegova okolina u vrijeme austrougarske vladavine (1878.- 1918) (Konjic and environs during the Austro-Hungarian period [1878-1918]), Konjic, 1990.


2001.    Mulić, Jusuf, Konjic i njegova okolina u vrijeme osmanske vladavine (1464-1878) (Konjic and environs in the Ottoman period [1464-1878]), Konjic, 2001


2005.    Jusuf Mulić, Konjic i njegova okolina između dva svjetska rata (Konjic and environs between the two World Wars), Konjic, 2005.


(1) The term usually used among Konjic’s woodcarvers to describe a design composed of a network of rhomboids, squares or hexagons.

(2) Talisman, from the Arabic tilsum.

(3) All dates based on information received from Armin Nikšić




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