TOMB OF KUBINZKY FAMILY AT NEW JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE-OLŠANY, A PETROGRAPHICAL PERSPECTIVE – 2
A low one-level stage, two entrance steps, the paving of the interior, and four covering ledgers for particular grave spots, inserted in the paving of the interior, are all made of granite.
The stone is at the moment quite tarnished. At some places, though, it is possible to see that it is light grey granite of low or middle granularity. It contains, sporadically, dark (mafic) enclaves (xenoliths) made of dark isinglass – biotite, or in some cases made of a dark mineral – amphibole. These enclaves have been described in amphibole-biotite granodiorites, tonalities and quartz diorites of the Central Bohemian Plutonic complex, specifically in the quarries of the river Vltava and Sázava regions. The tombstone and paving look much darker than the rock used for the entrance steps and the stage. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves if two different types of granite were not used here. A thorough study of the surface of the stone slabs, paving and steps has proved that the mineral composition of all of the used rock in all of these construction components is similar, including mutual orientation of minerals and presence of mafic enclaves. At the same time, the used rock was compared with samples of granite from the above-mentioned regions. The result of this comparison shows that one kind of granite was probably used, specifically the one from the Vltava region. The varied colour of rocks was caused not only by slight pollution, but also by the way stonemasons used to work the stone. The surface of the slabs and paving was polished. On the other hand, elements that seemed lighter were worked more roughly.
The greenish inscription ledgers inside of the tomb were probably made of transformed (metamorphosed) rock – serpentinine. Serpentinine (from the Latin serpens = snake) comes from magmatic rock peridotite by hydration process. During the process, the mineral olivine is transformed into minerals of the serpentinine group (antigorite, chrysotile and others. Serpentinine is usually darker, black green. Light green types usually are typical for their decorative netlike look. They were often used for decorative objects, tiling panels or made in the form of tombstones. Serpentinites in the Czech Republic can be found especially in western Bohemia (Mnichov u Mariánských Lázní), in the vicinity of Křemže in southern Bohemia, in the Kutná Hora region, in the Sázava river region, in Vysočina. They are also to be found in Moravia (in the regions of Třebíč, Jeseníky, Brno). They were usually used as aggregate, and as material for the production of smaller decorative objects, too. In the case of the tomb of the Kubinzky family, the serpentinine inscription slabs are too big (85 x 42 cm) to be of a Bohemian or Moravian origin. Our serpentinines are all too much broken tectonically. In the process of the breaking out, you can only get slabs of small sizes out of them.
A big surprise from the stonemason’s point of view are the shafts of columns that can be found in the projecting part of the entrance to the tomb, as well as the shafts of pilasters in the form of polished slabs located at the frontal and both of the side peripheral sandstone walls of the tomb. The reason is that they are made of stone which is very unusual for decorative purposes in our country – of ignimbrite. The height of the shafts of columns is a little more than two metres, the diameter is over 30 cm. Ignimbrites are usually rocks created by agglomeration of clastic streams that had been spewed up during explosive volcanic eruptions. The name comes from the Latin ignis = fire and imber = rain. The original colour of ignimbrites is yellowish or orange, weathered types are dark ochre or reddish. This is also the case of the shafts of columns and pilasters at the tomb of the Kubinzky family. Based on consultation with experts on this type rock, it can be said that the material used does not come from the area of the Czech Republic. Macroscopically, most resemblance is borne with ignimbrite from the German locality of Leutewitz west of Meissen.
Last, the fifth type of rock, that was used for the construction of the tomb, is white marble. The bases of columns and pilasters and their richly decorated heads in Corinthian order and also the ceiling slabs of the interior, are all made of it. In the Czech Republic white marble was quarried in many localities (e.g. Kralický Sněžník, Krkonoše (Giant Mountains) or in the Jeseníky area in Supíkovice, where quarrying still continues). Nevertheless, none of these correspond to the appearance of the marble used in the tomb of Kubinzky family. It is probable that Austrian Laas marble, or Italian Carrara marble were used, which were in regular use in our country at the time of the construction of the tomb. This can be clearly seen on many of the tombstones in the vicinity.
For World of Stone provided by authors:
RNDr. Barbora Dudíková, RNDr. Zdeňka Petáková