Pekovic gets medieval

Benjamin Polk —  December 10, 2010 — 6 Comments

Some time ago I made it clear that I was determined to figure out the provenance of Nikola Pekovic’s wicked tattoos. Let’s remember together. On his arm, Pek sports a really terrifying caped warrior standing on a pile of skulls. And on his back is a huge piece depicting the face of an old, wise man superimposed upon a flaming monastery.

Well, because I am a courageous journalist (and the truth never sleeps), I’ve accomplished this essential task. That warrior? “It’s just me and my progress this year,” says Pek, “the drawing is something like me.” Totally.

The monastery is the Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro, which is built into the face of the nearly sheer Ostroska Greda rock and is dedicated to Vasilijie, a 17th century bishop who died and is entombed there. It’s on fire in the tattoo simply because it was nearly destroyed in a 1923 blaze. Makes sense to me. According to Professor Wikipedia, the monastery “represents the meeting place of all confessions: the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Muslims. According to the stories of pilgrims, by praying by [Vasilijie's] body, many have been cured and helped in lessening the difficulties in their lives.”

Pekovic elaborates: “It’s really symbolic, it’s got big history. I just wanted to have something to remind me of my home and everything.” Pek is obviously hilarious, but there’s also something totally soulful about him.  I’m not sure if it’s the way he seems to be fighting against his own body when he’s on the floor or the forlorn look behind his eyes, but I think I love this guy.

Update: Upon closer inspection, those are not flames, they’re rocks. Which is considerably less spectacularly apocalyptic, but still pretty great. The piece actually looks quite a bit like the woodcarving above.

Benjamin Polk

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6 responses to Pekovic gets medieval

  1. This is absolutely the question I would’ve asked if I hadn’t been TOTALLY FUCKING TERRIFIED of him in the locker room on Monday. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but between the half-torso Dio album tattoo and his size, I was not going to say a thing to him. The answer is way better than I could’ve anticipated, though.

  2. I’ve wondered about those myself. That warrior on top of skulls one is undeniably badass.

  3. Yup, there’s a reason it took me until December to figure this out.

  4. Tattoo on his shoulder is Serbian medieval knight (probably Milos Obilic).

    As for tattoo on his back, like you said it’s holy Ostrog monastery of Serbian Orthodox Church. And yes, it’s rocks, not blazes of fire. Here are few pictures of it:

    http://files.myopera.com/MilosMiskovic/albums/606307/Manastir%20Ostrog.jpg
    http://sacredsites.com/images/europe/montenegro/Ostrog_monastery_01.jpg
    http://www.turizamcg.com/atrakcije/Manastir%20Ostrog/manastir-ostrog.jpg
    http://www.tour-navigator.org/images/ostrog/ostrog_3.jpg
    http://www.discover-montenegro.com/Foto/Ostrog/ostrog_monastery.jpg

  5. The knight could be Milos Obilic, who like Pek was from Montenegro. But, he told it’s just him, I’m sure he knows best.

    As for the monastery, the Bishop Vasililije (also from Montenegro) is the most loved saint around. Like you said, it was the meeting place of all religions, which changed a bit with the little war between Serbian and Montenegrin churches since the independence of Montenegro.

    As of it, you will certainly hear that Pek is serbian (unfortunately there is only one word in most of foreign languages, so most of you think “from Serbia” when hearing “serbian”), mostly because of the cross and the 4b (which every non educated serbian will think are s) on the cross, which is, in fact, Byzantine heraldry (Basileus Basileon Basileuon Basileuonton) which means : King of Kings, ruling over Kings.

    That was a minute of culture, he’s from a small country (less than 700 000 living souls) and is not so well known (due to the fact that their autonomy and identity were stolen by a forced annexation in 1918), but with guys like Pek, I’m sure this little heaven on earth will be better known.

  6. In that time the serbians were all over montenegro ( like the germans had a lot of different states (like Bayern, Preußen etc.) but are all from the same tribe of serbians …so if u want to make it right ..u have to say that his tattos are historical legends from serbish/montenegrian culture ….

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