The exhibition »The Coats of Arms of Cres Countryside« by Jasminka Ćus Rukonić was opened on 30 March 2013 in the Cres Museum of the Adult Education Centre in Mali Lošinj in the Arsan Palace in Cres and stayed opened to public until 18 May 2013. A TV Lošinj report from the opening ceremony is available a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRCzO-vTQrc
As any countryside, the countryside of the island of Cres includes the estates in the country, namely the rural estates belonging to landowners who did not actually live in the village but were permanently settled in the nearby towns – Osor and Cres. In the past, apart from the Catholic Church, religious orders and the municipalities of Osor and Cres, the major land owners were also various fraternities and members of nobility or gentry. Therefore, their coats of arms can be found in some country states where they spent summer holidays. As in all medieval Europe, the cities in the eastern Adriatic developed as well: the cities like Osor and Cres maintained their appearance through the coexistence of urban core and its agrarian surroundings. Noble and rich residents of the city wanted to improve their lives, trying to occasionally spend some active time on their newly-earned properties in the country, especially since the 19th century. Most country estates were established out of business and economic reasons for better monitoring and maintenance, particularly in late spring during the period of sheep shearing and cheese production.
Twenty two items consisting of coats of arms and symbols have been found in the Cres countryside so far. One is made of marble (de Petris in Beli), eighteen of stone, one is made of cast reinforced concrete (five-pointed star in Beli), one item is made of sealing wax (Austro-Hungarian imperial institution in Beli) and one is made of plaster or stucco (Franciscan coat of arms in Martinšćica). Four coats of arms date from the 15th century, five each from the 16th and 17th centuries, three each from 18th and 19th centuriers, and two items date from the 20th century. The greatest use of coats of arms and symbols in the Cres countryside was between the 15th and the 17th century, during the second Venetian rule (1409 – 1797) on the island of Cres.
Stone coats of arms in the Cres countryside are mostly located on the entrance door pediments, well heads, gravestones, or independently on a pedestal. Gravestones feature the following coats of arms: three coats of arms of the Bochina family, two coats of arms belonging to the fraternity of the Sacred Body and to the agriculture fraternity, a coat of arms of an unknown family from Stivan and three symbols of the wealthy plebeian families Kamalić (Merag), Šintić (Predošćica) and Vidić (Bučev). On the entrance door pediments there are two symbols of St. Bernardine (Beli, Stivan) and the T-shaped symbol and the coat of arms of the Bochina family at Parhavac. There is also one self-standing symbol, a replica of the original coat of arms of the Republic of Venice (Beli), a coat of arms of an unknown family on a stone vessel in Breg, and an onther unknown family on a stone sink in Lubenice, the Sforza family coat of arms on the well head and the symbol of St. Bernardine on the cross in Dragozetići.