Traditional crafts

Traditional crafts

The development of indoor fabrics is related to the general flourishing of the folk art of the 19th century, as a result of favorable structural changes in the economic and social condition of the peasantry.

In the hierarchy of folk art values, carpets and kilims occupy a special place. As a type of fabric, the carpet is an old tradition, being the main interior decorative piece from the dowry of the peasant girls. The production and possession of carpets offered social prestige to girls with technical skills. The transport of the dowry to the groom's house was performed in a ritual ceremony, where each piece had to be presented to the community.

The Oltenian carpet is noticed, first of all, by the vegetal motif. Usually, the center and the border of the Oltenian carpet are covered with bouquets and branches with leaves and flowers (daisies, tulips) arranged horizontally in frequent rows.

The ornamental composition is developed by using figurative motifs (animals and humans) integrated with the vegetal composition. The anthropomorphic motifs - women's figures often engaged in the hora dance or different characters - sometimes appear as the components of a genuine small scene. The carpet’s coloration is tinted and refined. The fields, usually colored in navy, cherry, azure, green or brown, are distinguished by their unparalleled glow. In the ornamental repertoire of the carpets, birds, animals and different characters often appear.

The area in which the weavers in Oltenia demonstrated talent and creative imagination is that of the kilims. Unlike other fabrics, the kilim is characterized by certain features in terms of size, but especially in terms of decoration, the rectangular shape, well proportioned and with a predominantly vegetal and zoomorphic decoration, with some imported motifs organically intertwined with those of native tradition. It is made from a wide sheet, manufactured in the kilim technique, which enables the making of some well-defined motifs.

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The Oltenian carpet

The Oltenian carpet is considered one of the most valuable types of Romanian carpet. We can find symbols and motifs that come from the rural art and brâncoveneşti art, motives whose meaning is related to the fundamental meaning of Romanian spirituality, such as the words of life, the horse and the horse rider, the cock, the cuckoo, the deer. The colouring is represented by the ultramarine blue, the pastel green, the red-cherry which represent the background and determine the chromatic of the decorations.

The art of pottery

The Oltenians were skilled not only in the art of textile making, but they were great masters in the arts of pottery as well.

Improving the technique of heating the pots and subsequently introducing the potter's wheel were important moments in the evolution of this craft.

The ceramics in Oltenia bears over time the unmistakable imprint of archaic cultures and civilizations in this geographic area. The ceramics are handmade following a technological process passed down for hundreds of years. The main phases of the technological process are: preparation of clay for modeling (transport, leavening, cutting, kneading, cleaning the impurities, making balls of clay according to the size and shape of the pots), modeling the desired object, waving or scraping, decorating, drying, heating at the first fire, glowing, heating at the second fire and obtaining the finished product.

The furniture

Another category of objects is the furniture, consisting of dowry crates, tall wardrobes, tables with cupboards, round tables. The decoration of the crates instantly attracts the eye, as it consists of combinations of straight black lines, with red and black colors.

The art of woodworking

The art of woodworking is one of those areas in which the artistic virtues of the folk craftsmen of Oltenia have been fulfilled, and they represent at the same time remarkable achievements of the Romanian folk art. Categories of wooden objects that take up artistic forms are found in almost all areas related to the peasant's activity: architectural elements, construction items, furniture items, tools and household items.

The techniques used for woodworking and decoration are: incision, cresting, carving and sculpting. The architectural elements that folk sculpture highlights are: pillars and porches, house doors, laths that mask the brace wrists at the corners of the buildings and the frames of the windows. Among the wooden exhibits is the "church door" sculpted at the beginning of the 19th century, whose setting creates a synthesis of popular ornaments (the sun, the serpent, the forms of life) and the cult decorations specific to the brâncovenian art (the double-headed eagle, vegetal motifs).

Several traditional artistic crafts are exhibited at the Ethnography Section of the Oltenia Museum (Bania House).

Visit the page of the Oltenia Museum Visit the page of the Ethnography Section of the Oltenia Museum

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