During the Eneolithic period, the dominant and prevailing culture in the territory of Croatian Pannonia and beyond was the Vučedol culture, named after its eponym site, Vučedol, near Vukovar. It had a well-developed and complex religious system based on the worship of solar deities. Various motifs, used to symbolize such worship, are mostly documented on highly decorative vessels as well as anthropomorphic and zoomorphic statues. Among them, the most famous one, at least in current history, is the so-called Vučedol dove. The Vučedol culture was also in special focus during the Croatian War of Independence, which occurred after the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and eventually led to the formation of the current independent state. In such a turbulent period, Vukovar, which suffered horrifying devastation, played an important symbolic role, with an entire iconography developed around it, and the aforementioned Vučedol dove became the paramount symbol of resistance and suffering. In this article, we therefore present both the creation and evolution of symbols in the Vučedol culture and explore the ways in which such objects and ideas were contextually transformed, particularly during the Croatian War of Independence and the ensuing formation of the country.

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