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Croatia: General Information

celtic b-black white-01The Republic of Croatia, is at the crossroads of Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (90.4%) and is ethnically the most homogeneous of the six countries of the former Yugoslavia. Minority groups include Serbs (4.4%); Bosnians, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani and others (5.9%).

Although Croatia is itself a very homogenous country, Croatian national costumes are the traditional clothing worn by Croats living not only in Croatia but also in seven other central or south-eastern European countries:  Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. Nowadays, the majority of Croats wear Western-style clothing on a daily basis, while the national costumes are most often worn in connection with special events and celebrations (ethnic festivals, religious holidays, weddings, etc.) and by dancing groups who dance the traditional Croatian circle dance, the kolo.

As in many other countries, the types of traditional costume in Croatia varies between the country’s (seven) regions: Slavonia and Baranya; Posavina and Podravina; Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb region; Istria; Lika; Dalmatia; and the Islands. The costumes vary in style, material, colour, shape and form, being influenced by the different cultures that at one time ruled the particular region: Austrian, German, Hungarian, Italian or Turkish (Ottoman). Because of the weather, the colder regions often use wool or fur for their waistcoats, cloaks and coats, while silk and light linens are used in those regions with warmer climates. There are three main types of costumes associated with the regions: the Pannonian style in the north and east, the continental or Dinaric style, and the coastal style on the coast.

History

The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period. The Neolithic period (ca. 6000 BCE – ca. 3000 BCE) was characterised by the emergence of permanent, organised settlements. The remains of various cultures have been found (e.g. Danilo, Hvar, Impresso, Korenovo and Sopot). Then the Vučedol culture arose, which extended from the Carpathians to the eastern Alps and the Dinaric Alps. It is presumed to have emerged after the arrival of Indo-European settlers around 3,000 BCE and lasted until about 2,000 BCE. In the Bronze Age (ca. 2500 BCE – ca. 800 BCE), again several cultural groups arose through the symbiosis of earlier cultural traditions and the various influences of their strong neighbouring cultures.

The Iron Age (c. 800 BCE – early 1st century CE) left traces of the Hallstatt culture (proto-Illyrians) and the La Tène culture (proto-Celts).  The first ethnic communities then appeared in the present-day area of Croatia and whose names were recorded by Greek and Roman writers:  Illyrian Ardiaei, Delmatae, Histri, Iapodes, Liburnians, etc. These communities came under the strong influence of Greek and Italic culture, and from the 4th century BCE, under the influence of Celtic culture. Some of the islands became Greek colonies. Illyria was a sovereign state until the Romans conquered it in 168 BCE. The Romans then organised the land into the Roman province of Illyricum, which encompassed most of modern Croatia (Istria was part of the province of Italia). Illyricum was subsequently split into the provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia in year 10 CE. Pannonia was further split in two by Trajan between 102 CE and 107 CE.

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia apparently during the early part of the 7th century AD (though the event has been placed as occurring between the 6th and the 9th centuries). Roman survivors of the invasion retreated to more favourable sites on the coast, islands and mountains. Croatia’s capital city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors. The ethnogenesis of Croats is uncertain and there are several competing theories, with Slavic and Iranian ancestors being the most frequently put forward.

Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. The Venetians gained control over most of Dalmatia by 1428, with exception of the city-state of Dubrovnik which became independent. In the 17th century, the Ottoman Wars caused great demographic changes. Croats migrated towards Austria (present-day Burgenland Croats) and to replace the fleeing population, the Habsburgs encouraged the Christian populations of Bosnia and Serbia to provide military service in the Croatian Military Frontier. Serb migration into this region peaked during the Great Serb Migrations of 1690 and 1737–39.

Between 1797 and 1809, the First French Empire gradually occupied the entire eastern Adriatic coastline and a substantial part of its hinterland, ending the Venetian and the Ragusan republics, and establishing the Illyrian Provinces. The Illyrian Provinces were captured by the Austrians in 1813, and absorbed by the Austrian Empire in 1815. This led to formation of the Kingdom of Dalmatia. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Croatia sided with the Austrians, with Ban (title) Josip Jelačić helping to defeat the Hungarian forces in 1849, and ushering in a period of Germanization. With the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the issue of Croatia’s status was left to Hungary, which resulted in the unification of the kingdoms of Croatia and Slavonia. The Kingdom of Dalmatia remained under Austrian control. The area of Bosnia and Herzegovina was returned to Croatia in 1881.

In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognised State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. A fascist Croatian puppet state existed during World War II. After the war, Croatia became a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect on 8th October of the same year. This was followed by the four-year Croatian War of Independence resulting in the Republic of Croatia.

Vrlicka women
1) Vrlicka women

Women’s wear

Generally, the basic costume of a Croatian woman consists of a plain white dress or blouse (košulja) and underskirt (skutići). The variations between (and within) the various regions involve other pieces of clothing and decorations, which may include another overdress or skirt (kotula), a decorative jacket (djaketa, paletun or koret), apron (ogrnjač or pregjača) and a scarf (ubrsac), kerchief or shawl which are usually decorated with a floral or animal motif. Croatian embroidery is very intricate and is usually done in red, white, blue, gold or black. Completing the costume are stockings (bječve) or knee-high socks, and boots or a special kind of strapped soft-soled sandals called opanci.

3) Opanici
2) Opanici

Croatian women’s hair is interwoven into one or two braids and decorated with red ribbons for girls or women that are unmarried; married women wear woven or silk kerchiefs, a cap or a headdress. The most famous headdresses being those worn by the women from the island of Pag.

Women’s jewellery includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings made of gold, silver, beads, pearls or even coral from the Adriatic. The amount of paraphernalia a woman is adorned with, either a lot or hardly any at all, depends on the region.

3) Wedding - bride and groom
3) Wedding – bride and groom

The costumes of brides are complemented by a crown or wreath often made of flowers (vijenac) and large amounts of jewellery.

2) Dinaric men’s costume
4) Dinaric men’s costume

Men’s wear

Croatian national dress for men usually consists of loose, wide slacks (gače širkoke) and a shirt, normally in either black or white, or both. The man may wear a decorative or plain waistcoat (fermen or jačerma), over his shirt, and possibly a jacket.

Men almost always wears a cap, varying in shape and design depending on the region. The most famous cap is perhaps the Lika cap, worn in the Lika region. Footwear, like the women’s, consists mainly of boots and sandals.

The different regions of Croatia

Slavonia and Baranya

These eastern regions are associated with the Pannonian style of dress and the Šokci ethnic group. In Slavonia, the costumes tend to be very elaborate, with floral designs and clothing made of silk or wool, with fancy embroidery, decorative silk ribbons and bows, lace work, gold or silver jewellery, coral, amber necklaces and pearls for the women. The colours of the dresses tend to be bright and varied, ranging from gold, red, blue, white and black all in one costume. The top shirt (odnjica) of the costume has fringed-wing sleeves, which is generally associated with the Pannonian style.

4) Slavonia and Baranya
5) Slavonia and Baranya

The men tend to not wear as many colours on their shirts and trousers as the women, but they still often have fancy embroidery on their wear thick coats or vests. Their sleeves might have a slight ruffle at the end. In Baranya, a part of the men’s costume is a small apron that is worn over the trousers that varies in colour and design.

Posavina and Podravina

These regions are both in the north and north-eastern part of Croatia. Unlike the Slavonians, the women’s costumes from Posavina do not focus on overly elaborate designs and patterns, instead they consist of simple black and white blouses, trousers and skirts. The men wear black waistcoats and black hats, while the women wear beautiful silk shawls, usually in blue or red with flower motifs. A thick apron with embroidered designs may be worn as well, and their colour and detailed patterns are often the main focus of the costume. The shawls and aprons are sometimes so colourful and richly garnished with patterns that they completely cover up the main dress.

6) Posavina and Podravina
6) Posavina and Podravina

The women in Podravina decorate their kerchiefs with a style of embroidery unique to this region. They also wear aprons over their dresses which are colourful and geometric in design and have a multi-coloured fringe. The men’s vests are usually red or black and are decorated with intricate patterns and embroidery too.

Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb region

These three areas are all located in the north, and are therefore influenced by the continental style; i.e. white garments but each area has its own decorative scarves, shawls, aprons and jewellery. Red is the most popular colour, especially in Zagorje, and the aprons and waistcoats worn by the men and women are red with elaborate stitching and embroidery, mostly in gold thread. Women wear colourful shawls and kerchiefs which are usually red with flower designs. The second most popular colour is black, which can have gold or white embroidery, or none at all.

Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb region
7) Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb region

Very often, the men and women do not wear any aprons or shawls, and their costumes mostly consist of their white garments, on which they may stitch a border of colour at the edges, or add a colourful sash (tkanica).

8) Škrlak
8) Škrlak

Hats are an important part of a man’s costume, and can come in two forms: the traditional Pannonian hat (škrlak) is black and dome-shaped, with a red wool band embroidered with multi-coloured thread and white and gold dots attached, or the black felt box-hat (šešir) folded into a flat bow at the back with a grosgrain ribbon tied around the body. Red, white and blue strings (the Croatian tricolour) are often tied around the hat over the grosgrain ribbon.

Istria

The costumes from Istria are influenced by the Adriatic style of the coast. The men’s costumes are typically blue, brown or white, and consist of white, ankle-length trousers that are tighter than the Slavonian style, shirts and leather waistcoats. Their outer coats are generally short and long-sleeved or long, sleeveless ones. Accessories include wide silk belts, red or black caps, and cotton socks worn over their footwear called opanci.

9) Istria
9) Istria

Women on the coast wear broad-sleeved white blouses that are embroidered in silk or lace, as well as pleated skirts or dresses varying in colour, and stockings under their opanci. They also cover their shoulders with colourful shawls called oplece, which are tied around the neck and hang over their arms and upper chest. Jewellery is made of colourful glass beads and silver coins, which hang around the neck and waist by string of leather.

Lika

The costumes of Lika show both Dinaric and Ottoman influences. Due to the military history of this region, the costumes can vary from civilian to military style. Because of the ruralness of the region and the prevalence of sheep, wool is spun and dyed (usually red, black, yellow and green) and fur coats and capes are common because of the cold winter weather.

10) Lika
10) Lika

Women tend to wear skirts down to their ankles and a white blouse. Their attire is generally in earth tones, with white, brown and black being the most common; however, blue dresses and aprons are reserved for married women, while white is for unmarried ones. Unlike the Croats from the north, the special sandals (opanci) are worn daily. The apron is often woven with colourful stitching and patterns with geometric motifs. Multi-coloured wool socks (priglavci or nazuvci) with various geometric designs are worn over the opanci. For headwear, women wear embroidered or white kerchiefs pinned to their hats. Jewellery such as earrings, bracelets and necklaces are made of silver, and some necklaces (djerdan) and earrings are often made of silver coins, traditionally from the 19th century Austrian coins (talira).

The men’s costume varies between the non-military and military style. A non-military costume has trousers and a linen shirt in white, black or brown (or blue for military men). The waistcoats may be made of leather or wool (black or red) and can be simple with no designs, or very elaborately designed with intricate patterns. Black or blue coats or capes made of lamb fur are worn during the winter. Red belts or sashes are tied around their waists and used to hold guns or swords, a remnant from the military era. A special carved knife (called a handžar or nož) from the Ottoman days is mainly carried. The Lika cap, a special hat exclusive to the region, is worn by all men, regardless of their social position.

Dalmatia

The traditional costume within the Dalmatian region varies greatly; the coastal areas are Adriatic and coastal in influence, whereas the inland area, called Zagora, shows the Dinaric influence similar to the styles of Lika and Herzegovina.

11) Dalmatia
11) Dalmatia

Perhaps the most famous example of Zagora costumes comes from the small town of Vrlika. Both the men and women’s dress wear is characterized by multiple layers of clothing worn one over another. For men, the costume consists of a red sash tied around dark trousers with a fringe of threads hanging from the belt in red, blue or green. Due to centuries of militaristic mentality, a special leather belt is worn to carry weapons. Over the shirt is an elaborately decorated tunic with a custom-made fringe. The waistcoat is highly decorated with gold and red embroidery. Its style or material and cut depending on the season (due to the weather). Much like the men, the women’s dress consists of several layers of clothing: a white blouse, skirt or tunic is most common, with a colourful apron consisting of complicated geometric patterns and fringe as well as a red waistcoat with gold stitching made in such a way to make it stand out from the white blouse.

Jewellery consists mainly of beads worn around the neck and silver coins adorning the costume. Both men and women wear red felt pillbox caps (bareta or crvenkapa), with a white veil attached to the women’s.

Being on the coast, the national costume of the Croatian capital, Dubrovnik, consists mainly of white, black, gold and red colours. Both men and women wear vests rich with gold embroidery while the women wear gold tassels decorating the front of their blouses and fine jewellery such as earrings, necklaces and hair clips. Men and women usually wear white or black trousers or skirts, respectively.

Islands of Croatia

The islands have the most variation in dress due to their geographic distance and isolation from one another. They have some similarity with Dalmatia and Istria, but many have their own unique styles not seen elsewhere. For example, the national costume from the island of Pag has its origins in the fifteenth century, and is characterised by the intricate lace that decorates the front of the blouses and the edges of kerchiefs. The famous lace work of Pag is renowned for its precision and beauty, and is the most prominent part of the costume. The women of the island wear large white headdresses, long-sleeved blouses and full pleated skirts (usually gold or red in colour) with a red silk scarf tied around their waist. The men wear waistcoats over their shirts with form-fitting trousers with a red silk handkerchief worn around the waist, and red hats.

12) Pag
12) Pag

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croatian dress from Bosnia and Herzegovina fall under the Dinaric category of dress style, and the regional variations between western Herzegovina and central Bosnia are the most prominent. In Herzegovina, the style of dress is similar to the inland Dalmatian style.

The Ottoman influence is more prominently shown in central Bosnia. The women’s dress is made of white heavy cotton with puckered vertical stripes, while the collar is embroidered with a crocheted trim and dotted with sequins. The waistcoat is generally dark in colour with a golden trim embroidered along the edges. The apron is made of wool, dyed usually red, black or dark green with minimal decoration. If no apron is worn, then the dress may be decorated with special embroidery and crocheted lace. Pantaloons (gače) are worn with white, knee-length stockings (čarape). The sash (tkanica) worn around the waist is black woven with green and gold wool. The headdress can be a kerchief (krpa) with various geometric designs and/or floral embroidery, or a more elaborate kind (čember) with a crocheted edge with a wide band of multi-coloured geometric embroidery on one side and half of opposite side.

13) Bosnia and Herzegovenia
13) Bosnia and Herzegovenia

The basic elements of the men’s costume are white cotton shirts with wide sleeves and black trousers with a fringed leg. The waistcoat is made of thick wool and is dark in colour and can be embroidered or crocheted like the women’s’. The sash around the waist varies in colour according to the region, but is usually dark. Knee-length socks are worn much like the women’s and are usually white, red or gold in colour.

Elsewhere

The Croatian dress from Serbia comes mainly from the Vojvodina region in the north and is strongly Pannonian in style. The most common colour for both men and women is white, with elaborate embroidery or stitching at the ends or hems of the sleeves, trousers or skirts. They wear blue or black aprons and waistcoats with gold embroidery. The most notable Croatian costumes are the rich blue ones from the Bačka region, where for centuries the women have ordered the silk for their costumes from Lyon in France.

14) Bačka
14) Bačka

The Croats from Kosovo — the Janjevci — have a dress that has a more Dinaric style. Since most are descended from Dubrovnik traders seven centuries back, they have maintained certain elements of Dubrovnik-style clothing that is reflected in their traditional dress. Due to the conflicts plaguing Kosovo over the years, many have migrated to Croatia, where a large cultural community has been set up in Zagreb, preserving the songs, dances and culture of the Janjevci.

Croatian minorities in nearby countries such as Austria, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro and Romania continue to have their own traditional dress influenced both by their ancestor’s original costumes and adaptation of certain local regional styles such as the Hungarian in Hungary and German Austrian Alpine in Austria.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_national_costume

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Croatia_before_the_Croats

Lost Dolls Society: http://www.le-cercle-des-poupees-disparues.fr/en/dolls-of-the-world.php?district=croatia

Pictures

1) Vrlicka women – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_
national_costume#/media/File:Vrlicka_nosnja_Knin04082011_4846.jpg

2) Opanici – http://www.thelovelyplanet.net/traditional-dress-of-croatia-a-phenomenal-heritage/ (Image by Aleksandar Cocek)

3) Wedding – http://www.likecroatia.com/news-tips/wedding-in-croatia-habits-and-customs/

costume – By Roberta F., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/
index.php?curid=16029052

4) Dinaric men’s costume – https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b3/0a/11/
b30a11bd7cf379d639e48d632b3b6f25.jpg

5) Slavonia and Baranya – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Me%C4%91imurska_narodna_no%C5%A1nja_na_otvorenju_slasti%C4%8Darnice_Me%C4%91imurska_gibanica.jpg/440px-Me%C4%91imurska_narodna_no%C5%A1nja_na_otvorenju_slasti%C4%8Darnice_Me%C4%91imurska_gibanica.jpg

6) Posavina and Podravina – https://babogenglish.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/8f79d-255486_112614748888731_763367565_n.jpg

7) Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb region – https://babogenglish.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/14bb6-64677_134867869996752_694938037_n.jpg

8) Škrlak – http://i0.wp.com/www.likecroatia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Ruzmarinke.jpg

9) Istria – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Istarska_narodna_no%C5%A1nja.2.jpg

10) Lika – http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-4_ZYqyKYSa4/UlixqLSh7MI/AAAAAAAAOwk/
PASrVjtvHwA/s1600/386308_112688652214674_1667568240_n.jpg

11) Dalmatia – https://babogenglish.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/26fdd-vladimirkirindubrovnikanddalmatianlittoral.jpg

12) Pag – http://www.mediteranpag.com/sadrzaji/51/nosnja05.jpg

13) Bosnia and Herzegovenia – http://croatia.org/crown/content_images/2011/busko_blato/
busko_blato_nosnje09kresevo_b.jpg

14) Bačka – http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xNBFrGPW_cw/Uld0kOZ0mHI/AAAAAAAAOmg/
Dj9O7y18AZA/s640/644000_112598608890345_1909391661_n.jpg

Hungary: Matyó bridal couple

Front view
Front view

General description: The woman is wearing the traditional costume of a Matyó Mary girl, while the man is wearing the typical Sunday attire of a Matyó man.

Dimensions Man: 19 x 12 x 6 cm; woman: 19 x 12 x 8 cm

Date when acquired 2015

Original Date 1978

Source Bought over EBay by Gisela H. as a present. The original owners said they had bought the couple in 1978.

The dolls are hand embroidered using original Hungarian folk art motives and were made by the Hungarian Cooperative Foreign Trading Company. The product has a certification of acceptance by the Hungarian Council of Folk Arts and Crafts

 

Back view
Back view

Body

The heads of both dolls are made of material drawn over a plastic base. The features are painted on. Their bodies are made of padded material. The woman’s hair is hidden under her headdress at the front but it gathered in a short plait at the back tied with white braid embroidered with red and blue flowers in the same style as her skirt.

 

Side view
Bride: Side view

Clothing

The woman is wearing an ensemble made of a white brocade jacket with short puffed sleeves with white lace around the cuffs. She has a bodice made of two types of braid. The upper white one with scalloped edges and embroidered in light blue and a lower braid embroidered with red and dark blue flowers and green leaves. The bodice has a quilted skirt reaching from the waist to the hips, which is covered with white lace. She has a long white brocade skirt that is highly pleated. Just above the hem is an inset made of medium blue silk braid. Another piece of braid is sewn onto the skirt at the level just below her buttocks. This is again embroidered with red and dark blue flowers and leaves though the design is slightly different form that of the bodice. Under her skirt is a midi-length plain white cotton petticoat and a pair of short drawers. Over the front of the skirt is a highly pleated apron made of white brocade with light blue ribbon sewn just above the hems which have lace around the edges. Her black shoes have a point of leather at the front going up the front of the leg.

Top of floral headdress
Top of floral headdress

On her head is a floral headdress (blue, pink and white flowers) with a veil made of white net hanging down to the level of her hips. Silver tinsel-like ribbons are attached to the headdress.

Bridegroom: side view
Bridegroom: side view

The man is wearing a very long- and wide-sleeved shirt. The front of the shirt and around the arms of the sleeves is typical Hungarian floral embroidery in red, blue, green, pink and orange. Around the neck is a piece of white braid embroidered with red.  Over the shirt, he is wearing a black felt waistcoat that is open at the front and is embroidered with yellow wool to form three oblongs on each side of the chest. On the lower part of his body are highly pleated gatya with white fringing along the bottom of the legs. Over these he is wearing the typical Matyó black fringed apron, embroidered with a floral and cross stitch design in red, yellow, brown, pink and white. He is wearing a pair of black boots with the typical curved top.

Top of man's hat
Top of man’s hat

He has the typical Matyó high-crowned Bowler hat on his head with a piece of black braid around the crown embroidered with a floral design in white, pink and green.

 

Accessories

None

 

Background information

Matyó Land is situated at the feet of the Bükk Mountains in Upper Hungary. Mezőkövesd is its capital. Matyó embroidery and folk costume are certified “Hungaricums”, i.e. they are typical Hungarian treasures of the Carpathian basin. Matyó folk art became part of the UNESCO World Heritage in December 2012.

World_Heritage_Logo_global.svgUntil the 1860s, the clothing of the Matyó was simple and reserved; their embroidery used only the colours red and blue.

From the 1870s on, the clothing rioted with colours and Mezőkövesd became the leading inspiration of peasant style for Hungarians everywhere, including even items which worn by men. The colours and patterns were fully developed in the early 20th century, especially by one artist, Bori Kis Janko.

1) Matyó girls at a wedding
1) Matyó girls at a wedding

The Matyó are Roman Catholics and the woman’s costume is typical of girls who belong to the Society of Mary. Matyó women otherwise wear a different style of costume, whose silhouette of is tall and slender rather than the full-skirted costume of other Hungarian regions. This effect is achieved by the headdress ending in a peak and by a skirt which is narrow at the waist and widening out only at the ankle. The bodice and shoulder shawl are worn over a shirt with wide silk sleeves. Various types of blouses then came into use and turned the shirt into underwear. The material of the skirts was cashmere, silk or satin, or later artificial silk. Under the top skirt is a shorter petticoat often made out of one hundred metres of material. The lower part of the long, narrow apron is richly embroidered, which further emphasizes the vertical line of the costume.

2) Matyó womens’ costumes
2) Matyó womens’ costumes

The Matyó women’s costumes were so expensive that girls of poor social standing had to work very hard for many years as day labourers and as seasonal workers to earn the price. They did this because the poor people did not want to be outdone by the rich, shown by the proverb: “Let it grumble, so long as it’ll sparkle,” meaning, they often had to starve in order to buy the extravagant outfit.

The basic outfit for the Matyó men consists of the shirt, waistcoat, necktie, hat, apron and culotte-style trousers. This style of trousers, known as gatya, are worn over most of Hungary, especially in the summer. They are made of plain white linen or cotton and are very full. In fact, in the Matyó region they are actually fuller than the skirts of the women. They are usually worn slightly longer than boot-top length, and are generally fringed at the bottom of the pant legs. Such gatya are often mistaken for skirts.

There is extensive embroidery on the collar, shoulders, front, and on the very long and full sleeves of the festive shirts. The shirt’s sleeves are nearly a yard wide and are edged with lace. A sleeves of a young man’s shirt worn on his wedding day were sued to make his shroud when he was buried.

The man’s apron consists of one panel, is black, and nowadays usually has a fringe on the bottom, a row of patterned ribbon and embroidery in the same style as on the man’s festive shirt.

The waistcoat is made of black wool, has lapels, and is ornamented with a varying amount of buttons and black soutache braid.  On formal occasions, a narrow silk embroidered tie was tied around the neck, and a round topped felt hat with ribbons and feathers completed the ensemble.

Source(s) of information

http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED219348.pdf

Pictures

1) Matyo girls at a wedding – http://hungarianfolk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Matyo-girls-at-wedding1.jpg

2) Matyo womens’ costumes – http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2014/06/costume-and-embroidery-of-mezokovesd.html

Hungary: Hungarian woman (Kalotaszeg?) (2)

Front view
Front view

General description: Woman wearing Hungarian traditional dress

Dimensions 23 x 12 x 9 cm

Date when acquired 2015

Original Date Unknown

Source Flea market in Göttingen. Present from Aneta

 

Back view
Back view

Body

Material body, arms and legs with a porcelain head. The features are painted on. Her hair is made of black wool and is drawn back from a central parting into a long single plait that is turned up at the back, so it reaches the top of her head.

 

Clothing

She is wearing a long, puffed-sleeved blouse with green lace around the cuffs. There is white lace at the front of the neck. Over this she is wearing a short red waistcoat made of a silky material and decorated with gold braid around the neck and down the front. She is wearing a silky pinky-grey full skirt with white lace around the hem and a pieced of red, white and green braid around the top of the lace. These are the colours of the Hungarian flag.

She is wearing a white cotton petticoat and short drawers under her skirt. Over the skirt is an almost oval shaped apron made of black material embroidered with white and red flowers with leaves. The edges of the apron are hemmed with gold braid with very long fringing. The apron is tied at the back with a long red ribbon.

On her head is a triangular headdress made of green felt and decorated with round and oblong beads in red, black, blue and yellow. At the front of the design is a single golden sequin. This is a párta, the headdress of an unmarried woman.

 

Side view
Side view

Accessories

None

 

Background information

Looking at the more modern versions of Hungarian national costume dolls, this doll appears to be a standard production for tourists. Again the origin of the costume appears to be Kalotaszeg in Transylvania.

Source(s) of information

http://mek.oszk.hu/02700/02790/html/107.html

Traditional dress of Hungary

Hungary: Hungarian woman (Upper Hungary?)

Front view
Front view

General description: Married woman possibly in a costume from Upper Hungary

Dimensions 28 x 13 x 13 cm

Date when acquired 1967

Original Date 1967

Source Budapest, Hungary. A present from my father,

 

Back view
Back view

Body

Material body, arms and legs with a porcelain head. Her blonde hair is drawn back from a central parting into two plaits that wound around the back of her head and under her hat.

 

Side view
Side view

Clothing

She is wearing a puffed sleeved blouse made of white cotton. The sleeves reach down to just above her elbows. The blouse has a white lace collar. Over her blouse she has a blue linen shawl decorated with red fringing and a yellow zig-zag braid. The shawl is tied at the back of her waist. She is wearing a very short red cotton skirt with a floral pattern in cream and black. The hem is edged with a narrow band of white cotton, with the seam covered with yellow zig-zag braid. Under her skirt she has a plain white cotton petticoat and short drawers. She has a white poplin apron with a blue ribbon tying it around her waist. The bow is at the front. The edge of the apron has white lace sewn to it. She is also wearing a pair of bright red boots up to her knees made of painted papier-mâché.

Her headdress is a high-crowned brimless hat made of grey linen with a circular pattern in black. The crown is decorated with white lace around the top and bottom edges with red zig-zag braid and a strip of plain yellow braid in the middle. A small yellow bead is placed at the front of the bottom and three large shiny black beads at the top. The central black bead being surrounded by a rosette made of red ribbon. At the back of the hat is a red ribbon held in place by a black sequin.

 

top of headdress showing how the material is gathered together
Top of headdress showing how the material is gathered together

Accessories

None

 

Background information

Due to her great age (nearly 50 years old), the white of the cotton has browned and the blue ribbon become very pale. She is still very pretty though and her headdress appears to be typical of those of married women from Kazár-Maconka in Upper (Northern) Hungary. On special holidays, the women of this region wear two blouses. One is starched, and on top of it they put a second blouse, made of tulle or cambric. Due to how the doll is made I cannot check this.  However, the doll has the typical shoulder shawl tied across her chest. She also has the very short skirt and petticoats typical of certain villages around around Szécsény (Hollókő, Rimóc and Lóc). However, the combination worn by the doll is not specific to any one of these villages.

 

Source(s) of information

http://mek.oszk.hu/02700/02790/html/107.html

My 100th doll

hungary_1_9_1gToday, I have blogged my hundredth national costume doll and when I started with my Kandy Devil Dancer, I never thought how much time and pleasure this hobby would give me. It was also a trip down memory lane not only about those dolls I have bought myself when abroad or at flea markets but also the wonderful dolls given to me by my parents and friends throughout the years; from my first Italian doll at the age of three given to me by my mother’s employer, Mr Kaye, to the ones I got a couple of weeks ago from a cribbage companion (55 years later).

Close up of mask showing beaked bird-like or dragon image
Close up of mask of Kandy Devil Dancer, Sri Lanka

I have been really lucky to have parents who from when I was very young instilled in me a love of beauty and an interest in the other, foreign parts of the world either by taking me abroad on holiday or when my father travelled as part of his job, bringing me exquisite dolls back from his destinations.

Front view
My first doll from Italy (1961)

I have also been lucky in a dear friend, Fritz W, who in the last 30 years has kept his eyes open for national costumes dolls whilst combing the flea markets for his beloved ceramics. I can only hope the ceramics I have found for him have been just as rewarding, despite the fact we obviously have serious differences in taste – the more I think something is ugly, the more he loves it (a useful criterion in my decision-making). My collection would not be so large nor so varied without his far-ranging searches.

Learning about these dolls and their costumes to help me with this blog has opened up even more about human history than I knew before as well as making me realise that humans wherever they are have the urge to adorn themselves over and above the simply practical need to protect the sensitive bits. Not all my dolls are beautiful, but they are all interesting, from the 2.5 cm Guatemalan worry dolls to my largest blogged so far, my Hungarian lady at 40 cm.

mayan worry dolls
Guatamalan (Mayan) worry dolls

I still have a long way to go, having only blogged 30 of my 47 countries (see map and table below). The world has roughly 200 countries depending on how they are counted, so I only have dolls representing ca. 1/4 of the countries, but when one looks at the huge variation in costumes within even small lands, what I have is only a tiny part of what is truly out there.

I have learnt a few additional things. It takes time, lots of time, to find out information even with the internet. Information about dolls bought at flea markets can be severely misleading. I check and double check and still sometimes get the designation wrong (a special thanks to all those who have kindly put me right). In addition, fantasy can play a large part in the design of a doll, so they are not always true representations of the real costumes for a particular region or culture. Still that does not really matter, the sheer wonderful degree of artistry and craftsmanship make most of them worthy of respect.

Here’s to the next 100.

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List of the countries of the first 100 dolls
List of the countries of the first 100 dolls

Hungary: Hungarian woman (Kalotaszeg?) (1)

Front view
Front view

General description: Unmarried woman possibly in the traditional costume of Kalotaszeg in Transylvania.

Dimensions 40 x 36 x 24 cm

Date when acquired 1968

Original Date 1968

Source Budapest, Hungary. This is the first doll I bought myself (I was 10).

 

Back view
Back view

Body

Her body, arms and legs are made of padded material. Her head is made of china and has painted features. She has fine long black hair drawn back from her forehead and tied with a ribbon in a plait that reaches to her waist.

 

Clothing

She is wearing a white puffed-sleeved blouse which is gathered at the neck. Her puffed sleeves reach to her elbows and the cuffs are edged with white lace and decorated with pink ribbons. Over her blouse is a red felt waist-length waistcoat, the front of which is decorated with four types of braiding: an open-worked green braid with a design of flowers, a golden braid, a green zig-zag braid and underneath a piece of yellow silk ribbon. Her long skirt is made of green silk brocade with a flower pattern woven into it. The skirt is lined with pink cotton that peeps out under the hem. A piece of white braid with a design of red flowers and green leaves runs around the skirt 3 cm above the hem. This is bordered on both sides by narrow stripes of red braid.

Edge of petticoat
Edge of petticoat

Under the skirt are two white cotton petticoats each edged with white braid with a geometric design in green and black. The edge of the braid is woven so it looks like tiny pleats. She is wearing a pair of white cotton underpants. Her shoes are made of cardboard and plastic and are in the form of the traditional Hungarian mules (backless clogs).

Over her skirt is an apron made of white brocade. It is decorated with various different types of braid: three types which follow the almost triangular form of the apron — narrow gold, black with a design of pink rosebuds and green leaves, and dark green with a red centre. Along the bottom is a woven red and orange braid, with a strip of narrow yellow with an orange centre. Both sides and the bottom of the apron are edged with red silk braid with long fringes.

Close up of párta
Close up of párta

On her head is the traditional párta, an arched headdress made of black material worn by unmarried women. It is decorated with artificial flowers, blue and red beads and a piece of gold braid. On each side of the gold braid, pink ribbon is sewn in ruffles and then used to tie the headdress at the back of the head.

 

Side view showing the width of her skirt
Side view showing the width of her skirt

Accessories

She has a choker-like necklace of red, yellow, colourless and black beads around her neck

Background information

Looking at various pictures and the description of the costume, this doll appears to be from Kalotaszeg in Transylvania.

 Source(s) of information

http://mek.oszk.hu/02700/02790/html/107.html

Traditional dress of Hungary

Hungary: General Information

celtic b-black white-01The traditional dress of Hungary is an exceedingly beautiful feature of the diverse and varied culture of this country. According to a census in 2011, the population consists of Hungarians (83.7%), Romani (3.1%), Germans (1.3%), Slovaks (0.3%), Romanians (0.3%) and Croats (0.2%). The designs of traditional costumes are unique compared to other Eastern European countries, but they are no longer commonly worn by Hungarians nowadays, being mainly worn while dancing Hungarian folk dances (especially the Csárdás) or for special festivities.

The traditional costumes of Hungary are split into four regions: Transdanubia, Upper Hungary (The Highlands of Northern Hungary), The Great Plain and Transylvania. The costumes within each of these regions can also be quite diverse. In Hungarian rural society, clothing traditionally showed the wearer’s position in the community, his or her age, rank and wealth.

Hungarian costumes follow the “Sunday variant” style of folk art. In this style, work clothes are simple and utilitarian. Only those of young women are occasionally brightened by a colourful scarf or a similar item. For Sundays or holidays, however, entire villages seem to blossom as their inhabitants don their colourful Sunday “best”. The contrast is usually most pronounced in women’s clothes. Men’s wear tends to be more sombre, with dark colours predominating. (There are important exceptions, such as in the Matyo region, where young men dress just as colourfully as the girls.) There is usually a great deal of variation between the clothes worn by the two sexes, but an unusual feature of the Transylvanian costumes is that items for women and men are often identical in tailoring, colour and ornamentation, while the age of the owner is distinctly illustrated by the use of different colours.

As said above, day-to-day clothes were usually plain and the Sunday “best” was highly decorated. The town of Mezokovesd in Upper Northern Hungary was the scene of an interesting episode concerning the ornateness of the Sunday costumes. By 1924, the town elders had decided that the church-going clothes of the villagers had become too luxurious, and they requested that the local pastor ban gold lace and gold embroidery from the church. As a consequence, the girls and women of Mezokovesd burned all their finery in front of the church. The luxurious use of colours, however, has remained a common practice in this region.

 

History

Hungary has like the rest of central Europe region been subjected to many different influences starting from prehistoric times. This was followed by centuries of successive habitation by Celts, Romans (35 BCE to 4th century CE), Huns, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Slavs, Gepids and Avars. In 895 CE, the Magyars settled in the Carpathian Basin. The Magyars are originally from the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains and they became the ancestors of modern-day Hungarians. The Magyars are called Hungarians in other languages as it was erroneously thought that they were descended from the Huns.

In the 16th century, the region was divided into three, with the north-western part under the rule of the Hapsburgs (Austria), while the eastern part and central regions were under Ottoman rule. The Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule in 1718, coming under Hapsburg rule. The ethnic composition of Hungary was fundamentally changed as a consequence of the prolonged warfare with the Turks. The Austrian-Habsburg government also settled large groups of Serbs and other Slavs in the depopulated south and settled Germans (called Danube Swabians) in various areas, but the Magyar were not allowed to settle or re-settle in the south of the Great Plain.

In October 1918, Hungary’s union with Austria was dissolved. On 4 June 1920, new borders for Hungary were established resulting in Hungary losing 71% of its territory and 66% of its population to its neighbours. About one-third of the ethnic Hungarian population became minorities in the neighbouring countries. During the Second World War, Hungary sided with Nazi Germany and Italy. At the end of the war, Soviet Russia took over the country making it a satellite state until 1989, when Hungary became an independent state as the Third Republic.

1) Matyo embroidery
1) Matyo embroidery

Embroidery

The finest achievements in the textile sector in Hungary is the embroidery which varies from region to region. Hungarian embroidery is characterised by great versatility and its variants may be classified according to the base material (textiles, leather, or thick felt), to the colours used (white-on-white or varigated), or to the many techniques utilised.

The present style of Hungarian folk art took shape in the beginning of the 18th century, incorporating both Renaissance and Baroque elements, depending on the area, as well as Persian Sassanid influences. The principal decorative themes consist of flowers and leaves, with sometimes birds or spiral ornaments. The most frequent ornament is a flower with a centrepiece resembling the eye of a peacock’s feather.

Around 150 years ago, the style of embroidery was not so colourful as nowadays: the wool available for embroidery was of limited colours, with blue and red or black and red patterns being common in that era. Later, when more colours became available, the floral decorations became bigger and multi-coloured. However, the Oriental style embroidery of Kalotaszeg in Transylvania usually uses only a single colour – red, blue or black. Today, the embroidery motifs applied to women’s wear are also used for tablecloths and wall decorations.

The finest embroideries are considered to come from Sárköz in Transdanubia and the Matyóföld in the Great Hungarian Plain. In the Sárköz region, the women’s caps show black and white designs as delicate as lace. In some areas, the embroidery is combined with openwork, which may be embellished with so much Richelieu work that very little remains of the original cloth between the embroidered motifs.

2) Woman’s waistcoat done in Richelieu work
2) Woman’s waistcoat done in Richelieu work

Women’s wear

The common principle of women’s clothes in all four regions of Hungary is that they consist of two separate units: a bodice and a lower part, each of which consists of several layers. The basic item of dress is a loose-fitting linen shift with long or short sleeves, over which is worn a waistcoat, a short jacket or a sheepskin cape. The costumes are then completed by a wide variety of headgear and footwear.

3) One rule is not to sit on your pleated skirt
3) One rule is not to sit on your pleated skirt

The lower part of the costume consists of one or more loose-fitting petticoats or underskirts (in parts of the Hungarian Plain it was not uncommon for women to wear well over a dozen), a skirt and an apron. The length and tailoring of the skirt, and the number and material of the petticoats vary greatly from region to region. The skirts are often highly pleated and are most commonly sewn from a solid medium-tone coloured material (red, rose, blue, violet, green, etc.). There are one or two bands of lace or ribbon sewn on midway down the skirt, and sometimes along the hem as well. The skirts can nowadays also be made of flowered print material.

The white linen or cotton apron worn with the costume tends to be minimally gathered at the sides at the top, rounded on the bottom. The apron served and serves to present to the world the wearer’s embroidery skills.

As said above, women’s clothing has become more vibrantly coloured in modern times as more colour options have become available. However, with advancing age, women wear increasingly plainer clothes; the favourite colour of youth, red, is slowly replaced by green, blue, and finally black. In some regions, the ancient custom of white mourning is retained.

4) Black wedding dress
4) Black wedding dress

Like among the Germans, in certain areas Hungarian brides used to wear a plain black dress made of silk (as said previously Hungarians wore white for mourning). The same dress was also worn for funerals and when the woman died she was buried in it. Otherwise, the traditional Hungarian bridal dress was very colourful and elaborately embroidered. Three bright and vibrant colours were usually repeated in the bride’s dress and in her large and elaborate headdress, which also included woven wheat as a symbol of fertility. Under the dress were many petticoats.

Throughout the entire Hungarian-speaking area, women wore their hair long and never cut it. Damage to the hair signifies injury to the individual her- or even himself, which is why cutting hair off was one of the strictest ancient punishments in Hungary (even until the 19th century). Many Hungarian superstitions involve the hair; for example, keeping a lover by eating a bit of his or her hair.

The name for unmarried girls was hajadon (bare-headed), which refers to their not wearing anything on their heads. Formerly girls braided their hair into two or three, and later one braid, and tied coloured ribbons into each braid. In a few places in the rural regions, girls pinned up their hair into a bun made of many small braids (e.g. in Kalocsa, Sióagárd). Married women wore their braided hair pinned in a knot on the top of their head. In fact, the last act of a Hungarian wedding is the pinning up of the hair of the young wife (felkontyolás).

5) Párta
5) Párta

On holidays and special occasions, young unmarried girls wore a párta, an ornately decorated headpiece on their heads, which covers the forehead but leaves the top of the head uncovered. The párta was valued as the symbol of maidenhood. In some regions, girls wore a ribbon folded a number of times to form a bow instead. Even simple wreaths of flowers were worn on the head.

6) Ribbon headdress
6) Ribbon headdress

Hungarian folk beliefs assign a greater magical power to a married woman’s hair than to a girl’s, and that is the reason why a married woman must always keep her head covered. The coif or bonnet-style head covering (főkötő) serves this purpose; the shape, colour and form of which vary greatly according to region, the age of the wearer, the weather, and the occasion.

7) Főkötő
7) Főkötő

For festive occasions, an under-headdress usually holds the bun of hair in place, and a more ornate one is fitted on top of that. The ornate headdress is stiffened with cardboard and various versions developed in the Hungarian-speaking regions. The most usual coifs are shaped like a cylinder or a column. A special headdress is worn by Matyo women (in the area around the town of Mezokovesd in Northeastern Hungary). It is rather unique as it consists of a material base with a number of pompoms attached to it.

8) Matyo pompom hats
8) Matyo pompom hats

In certain regions, after the birth of her first child, a young wife wears a red headdress. The colours of her headdress then become darker as the number of her children increases. Finally, she wears black, the colour befitting a grandmother.

During the past decades, the traditional ornate headdresses have disappeared almost completely in day-to-day life. They have been replaced by a kerchief (babushkas) tied over the head, whose colours again darken as the wearer grows older.

The footwear for the women traditionally consisted of mules (small backless clogs with a short heel). Red boots are often worn by folklore dancers.

8) Gatya
9) Typical gatya trousers, shirt and waistcoat

Men’s wear

Hungarian men’s costumes also vary from region to region though to a lesser extent. However, there are some items characteristic for each locality. In general, they all consist of tight-fitting boots, trousers [older style wide-legged linen or woollen culottes (gatya) or more modern black, blue or grey narrow-legged or jodhpur style trousers], a shirt that can be accompanied by a waist-length waistcoat (dolmany) or a coat, and a hat; all with varying degrees and types of braiding and/or embroidery (see above).

10) Cifra szűr
10) Cifra szűr

One of the most famous parts of men’s wear originated in Transdanubia, namely the colourfully embroidered long frieze-coat (cifra szűr). This style of coat first appeared in the western region of Hungary during the early part of the 19th century and within 20—30 years the style swept throughout entire country. The coat then went through several stylistic changes and has ended up in a black-and-white version in easternmost Transylvania. The highly embroidered version is intended for festive occasions and is a coveted object for every boy approaching adulthood.

11) Suba
11) Suba

At one time, much of a Hungarians’ wardrobe might have been made out of animal hides, but in more recent times the use of leather has become restricted to coats, capes, etc. The suba, a full-length sleeveless fur cape worn with the fur on the inside, the bekecs, a hip-length form-fitting coat, and the kodmon, a shorter jacket, are still made.

12) Boy in a decorated kodmon
12) Young man in a decorated kodmon

They are often decorated with heavy embroidery or appliqué work using dyed leather. The suba, is made out of as many as twenty sheepskins and so it is usually possessed by the head of a family or a wealthy peasant.

12) Boy in a Cumanian cap (Print from 1903)
13) Boy in a Cumanian cap (Print from 1903)

At one time, the majority of men’s head coverings were made from animal hide or woollen felt. The material used for the fur cap is sheepskin, normally black in colour and peaked in shape. It is generally worn in the winter, even today. The famous Cumanian cap or cap of Tur was made of felt. Recent research proves that even during the first half of the last century this hat was worn by Hungarians all over the country, and not only by the Cumanians. It is a tall, cylindrical form of headgear, and may have come to the peasants from the old traditional soldier’s outfit.

13) Man in an outlaio hat with blue gatya and shirt
14) Man in an outlaio hat with blue gatya and shirt

The wearing of wide-brimmed felt hats (outlaio) spread during the first half of the last century. It can be read in the official ordinances of that time that the wearing of these wide-brimmed hats was prohibited. Gradually, the brim of the hats decreased in size. Their smaller-brimmed successors still may be seen worn on the heads of the husbandmen of the Hortobágy. The wide-brimmed hat style lasted for a long time among the Székelys and Csángós, and also among the neighbouring peoples (e. g. Slovaks). Inexpensive straw hats appeared from the middle of the last century, and became popular in certain parts of the Hungarian-speaking territory especially during the summer.

 

15) Typical tight-fitting Hungarian boots
15) Typical tight-fitting Hungarian boots (Embroidery can even be found on men’s boots)

References

http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED219348.pdf

http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2014/06/costume-and-embroidery-of-mezokovesd.html

http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/hungary/ss/Hungarian-Folk-Costumes.htm#step6

http://mek.oszk.hu/02700/02790/html/100.html

http://mek.oszk.hu/02700/02790/html/105.html

http://www.ask.com/world-view/clothing-traditional-hungary-9f92ea0b410af348

http://www.thelovelyplanet.net/traditional-dress-of-hungary/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Hungary#Embroidery

Pictures

1) Matyo embroidery – https://europebetweeneastandwest.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/matyo-embroidery-a-wealth-of-beauty-and-complexity.jpg

2) Woman’s waistcoat done in Richelieu work – http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

3) Pleated skirt – http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

4) Black wedding dress – http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

5) Párta – http://www.cecili.eoldal.hu/img/mid/57/menyecske-parta.jpg

6) Ribbon headdress – http://folkcostume.blogspot.de/2011/11/costume-of-kalocsa-bacs-kiskun-county.html

7) Főkötő – http://www.kalocsafolkart.hu/custom/folkart/image/cache/w550h550wt1/f%C5%91k%C3%B6t%C5%91%20szallagos%20%201.JPG?lastmod=1411138353.1431503188

8) Matyo pompom hats – http://hungarianfolk.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Matyo-pom-pom-hats1.jpg

9) Typical gatya trousers, shirt and waistcoat – http://mek.oszk.hu/02100/02115/html/img/2-268c.jpg

10) Cifra szűr – http://www.hnp.hu/uploads/files/igazgatosag/Hortob%C3%A1gyi%20Nemzeti%20Parki%20term%C3%A9k%20v%C3%A9djegyesei%20-%202014/porkolabf_cifraszur_01.jpg

11) Suba – http://www.natgeocreative.com/comp/05/328/432651.jpg

12) Young man in a decorated kodmon – http://hungaria.org/uploaded/images/.thumbnails/20040610-083553_6.jpg

13) Boy in a Cumanian cap (Print from 1903) – http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516NX0X1ZdL._SY300_.jpg

14) Man in an outlaio hat with blue gatya and shirt – http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/9771832.jpg

15) Typical tight-fitting Hungarian boots – http://f.tqn.com/y/goeasteurope/1/S/I/N/-/-/hungarian-traditional-boots.jpg (Embroidery can even be found on men’s boots)

Bulgaria: A young Bulgarian couple

Front view
Front view

General description: Handmade Bulgarian man and woman

Dimensions Man: 26 x 9 x 8 cm; woman: 24 x 9 x 7 cm

Date when acquired 2000s

Original Date Unknown

Source Flea market Bochum area; present from Fritz W.

The label gives the name of the seaside town Bourgas in Bulgaria.

 

Back view
Back view

Body

The heads, bodies and legs are made of wood, while the arms are formed from wire. Both are fixed to wooden bases, the man’s (1 x 7.5 x 5.5 cm) being better carved and more stable than that of the woman’s (0.4 x 6.5 x 5 cm). He has a fringe of what looks like real brown hair poking out from under his hat. Her long black hair is made of wool and is drawn back from a central parting to a single plait falling down to below her hips.

 

Woman - side view
Woman – side view

Clothing

The man is wearing a high-collared white cotton shirt with long and wide sleeves. Two diamond-shaped red patches are applied to the chest region. Brown braid is sewn around the cuffs. On top of this is a reddish-brown woollen waistcoat trimmed with black braid (zig-zag around the arm holes; a wide band around the neck and a thin band around the hem, with two strips of thin black braid going down the front of the waistcoat) and four felt buttons on the chest. He is wearing dark blue narrow trousers with black zig-zag braid sewn on the front of the thighs. A red sash is worn around his waist (pojas). The bottom of the trousers are tucked into white thick linen leg wraps (navoi). He is wearing light brown soft leather shoes with pointed toes. On his head is a typical Bulgarian fur cap (kalpak) decorated with two woollen pompoms (one yellow, one green) sewn together on the left side.

The woman is wearing a closed tunic costume (sukmanena) with a white cotton V-necked blouse (riza) with long wide sleeves. The cuffs are decorated with white lace. Over this she is wearing a long black sleeveless dress (soukman) with a deep V-neckline. The dress has a geometrical design painted on it in white and ochre. Thin strips of stiffened red material are used to outline the neckline at the front and to form part of the pattern. It has been overpainted with the ochre colour. On the skirt, crosses have been formed from the red material, one at the front and two at the back. Also a thin strip runs down each side of the dress. The hem of the dress has a 3-cm border made of the same red material painted decorated with a painted geometrical design in white, ochre and black. Around her waist is a belt of the same material decorated with a gold ornament at the front. She has a white petticoat under her dress. Her shoes are similar to those of the man but the toes are more pointed. In her hair, the woman is wearing a headdress made of four roses and leaves made of material.

 

Man - side view
Man – side view

Accessories

The woman is carrying a pitcher carved from wood under her right arm.

 

Background information

Bourgas (Burgas), is the fourth-largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.

The man is not in the standard white (belodreshna) or black (chernodreshnik) Bulgarian costume though he seems to be wearing a blue version of the narrow long trousers (benevretsi) of the traditional Bulgarian white costume. He is not wearing a jacket, so maybe he is in his summer dress. The young woman is also not wearing a coat and has roses in her hair (many pictures of Bulgarian women show them with flower headdresses), again indicating a summery season. Possibly they are a young courting couple.

Source(s) of information

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgas

Bulgaria: General information

celtic b-black white-01The Balkan region now known as the Republic of Bulgaria has a long history. Prehistoric peoples are known to have lived there during the Neolithic times. Since then the traditions of this region have been primarily affected by Thracian, Slavic and Bulgar heritages, coupled with Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Persian and Celtic influences.

Nowadays, the predominant culture is that of the ethnic Bulgarians who trace their ancestry to the so-called Proto-Bulgarians (a central Asian Turkic people) and the Slavs (a central European people, beginning in the seventh century CE in what is now north-eastern Bulgaria). Besides the ethnic Bulgarians, there are several ethnic minorities living in the country; the most numerous being Turks and Roma, with smaller numbers of Armenians, Jews and others. The Turks usually do not self-identify as Bulgarians, whereas the Roma often do. Both groups are generally considered outsiders by ethnic Bulgarians, in contrast to the more assimilated minorities such as the Jews and Armenians.

History

The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 CE, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State. The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both World War I and II. In 1946, it became a socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989, the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria’s transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.

The traditional costumes of Bulgaria have developed from this complex historical and ethnic mix. The costumes were usually hand made with local materials woven from flax, hemp, wool, silk and cotton. The materials were dyed with natural dyes. The clothes were embroidered using bright silk threads embellished with coins and beads. The folk costumes are those garments that were worn in Bulgarian villages until the beginning of the 20th century. The basic structure of the clothing worn by men and women for workdays and holidays remained the same for many hundreds of years, until urban-influenced fashions and factory-produced clothes became available. This occurred during the national revival period in the 19th century when in the urban areas, the local traditional costumes began to be replaced by new designs that were strongly influenced by Ottoman and then later western fashions. These changes took place earlier for men than for women and at different times for the different elements of the costumes. The earliest, fastest and most diverse changes took place in the towns on the Thracian Plain between the mid-19th century and the 1920s. In more remote areas where life remained relatively unchanged, the clothing also remained virtually the same until rural depopulation occurred in the mid-20th century.

The costumes were and are decorated with many elements from pagan beliefs and legends. The designs are never completely symmetrical as Bulgarians believed complete symmetry was a diabolical creation. Intentional mistakes were even made to ward off the evil eye. The embroidery itself was considered to be able to protect the wearer from evil spirits and spells. Bulgarian women were only allowed to do embroidery until they married (they were taught at a very early age). Afterwards, they could only embroider when they were teaching their daughters.

Women’s wear

There are three main types of women’s traditional dress found in Bulgaria today. All three types of costume consist of a chemise (riza), apron(s) or a tunic and apron, a headdress, a belt, knitted socks and often a waistcoat or overcoat.

1) Single apron
1) Single apron

1) The single (ednoprestilchena) or double apron (dvuprestilchena) costume

This style of dress consists of one or two aprons worn over the chemise and tied round the waist.  The chemise most often worn with the double apron costume is gathered at the neck and wrists and is called a burchanka. The two-apron style is widespread in northern Bulgaria. All variants of this style of dress are worn with a narrow woven fabric belt, knitted patterned socks and leather sandals (tsârvuli) or felt slippers.

The oldest and simplest form of costume is the single apron (prestilka) worn tied round the waist. By the mid-20th century this style of costume was worn only for working in the fields and villages especially in summer, often alongside the saya and soukman costumes, and in a few remote villages in the eastern Rhodopes, where it was mostly worn by Bulgarian Moslems until the first quarter of the 20th century. The single apron can be made from one or two widths of cloth depending on the area of Bulgaria. The double width apron covers almost the entire lower body.

2) Double apron
2) Double apron

With the double apron style, the front apron is made of one or two straight lengths of fabric while the back apron is either the same as the front apron or made of several pieces of fabric joined either vertically or horizontally and pleated or gathered. Again different styles of double apron can be found in different regions

2) The closed tunic costume (sukmanena)

The soukman is a sleeveless or short-sleeved overdress with a low V- or U-shaped neck. It is usually made of dark woollen material and decorated with braid. It is worn over an embroidered straight-cut chemise (riza). In most areas, it is covered by a richly decorated apron. A waistband or narrow belt is worn over the soukman. Various types of waistcoats and jackets are also worn. The costume also included knitted socks, leather sandals or felt slippers or, more commonly nowadays, shoes.

3) Soukman
3) Soukman

3) The open tunic costume (sayana).

The saya is an open overcoat, usually with long or short sleeves. It is worn with a chemise (koshoulya), a waistband, a headscarf and a straight front apron made of one or two lengths of fabric with a vertical seam.

4) Saya
4) Saya

The traditional linen or woollen materials were replaced by brightly coloured silks during the 19th century National Revival period in those towns which were involved in trade with the Orient and West. Even the style of costume worn in these towns (e.g. Kotel, Panagyurishte, Koprivshtitsa, Sliven and Plovdiv) reflected these outside influences, with both cut and decoration being strongly influenced by Ottoman fashions; for example, the design on the women’s aprons worn in Kotel (white embroidery on a blue background) is supposed to have been brought back from Jerusalem.

Independent of the region, the women’s costumes worn for weddings were very intricate and had the most layers. The brides were also adorned with heavy metal jewellery. The number of garments worn was reduced once the women were married, and also later when they were widowed, with those garments being worn having little or no decoration. The strict adherence to the use of indictors of age in the structure of women’s garments had died out by the 1930s.

5) Bridal costume
5) Bridal costume

Men’s wear

The traditional men’s dress in Bulgaria were either “white” (belodreshnik) or “black” (chernodreshnik) costumes. These two patterns are not geographically based varieties, but rather two consecutive stages in the development of the male costume. The belodreshnik costume is of Slavic origin and was found throughout ethnic Bulgarian territory. It was best preserved in its original appearance in North-Western Bulgaria as late as the early decades of the 20th century. The emergence of the chernodreshnik type of men’s costume in central, southern and north-eastern Bulgaria was part of a country-wide trend of men’s clothes becoming darker. This was particularly prominent during the period of the Bulgarian Revival due to the associated social, economic, and cultural changes that were taking place at the time. Beginning in the late 18th century and until the middle of the 19th century, Bulgarian men’s clothes were no longer made of white aba (a kind of white homespun woollen cloth), but were made of black shayak (factory-produced brown, dark blue or black woollen textiles). There were also changes in the cut of the trousers and outer garments with the style being strongly influenced by Ottoman fashions. The black costume continued to be worn in West (Pirin and Shopluk), north-west and central north Bulgaria until the early 20th century when it was replaced by Western-style clothing. The style of costume worn by the more wealthy urban dwellers (chorbadjis) consisted of very wide loose trousers — the wider or more pleated the trousers meant apparently the more affluent the wearer — silk waistbands and elaborately decorated short jackets (anteriyas).

8) A white kalpak
6) A white kalpak

Both the white and black types of costumes were worn with a white shirt (riza), a wide, brightly coloured sash (pojas), a belt, a hat made of black or white lambskin (kalpak), legwraps (navoi) or knitted socks, and leather peasant sandals (tsârvuli), or more commonly nowadays, shoes.

6) White costume (belodreshnik)
7) White costume (belodreshnik)

The older “white” style of clothing also includes either long narrow trousers (benevretsi) or trousers with broad and short legs (dimii) with leg wraps (nogavitsi) and top clothes made of white home-spun woollen cloth. The long wedge-like silhouette of the costume is produced by the outer garments (kusak, klashnik, dolaktenik, golyama dreha). Stylistically, the costume is characterised by its specific linear embroidery motifs and colourful braiding (gaytani) around the hems of the neck and the tops of the wedges. An essential element is the waist-band wound tightly around the waist made of richly ornamented fabric, predominantly red.

7) Black costume (chernodreshnik)
8) Black costume (chernodreshnik)

The “black” men’s dress was not only black but could be blue or brown in colour. In addition, the elements described above, it also included loose trousers (poturi) and a straight-cut waist-length top garment: elek, dzhamadan (waistcoat), aba, anteriya (a jacket with sleeves) made of black woollen material. The poturi trousers are richly decorated with black braid.

The men’s costumes of Western Bulgaria, in the regions of Sofia, Samokov, Stanke Dimitrov and Kustendil reflect a transitional phase between the white and black costumes. In these areas, a dark blue or black jacket or waistcoat is worn over white trousers. This costume dates from the 19th century and originated in the urban settlements that were influenced by European fashions.

9) A bridegroom’s costume showing the transition between black and white
9) A bridegroom’s costume showing the transition between black and white costumes

References

http://bulgariatravel.org/data/doc/ENG_39-Tradicionni_nosii.pdf

http://www.eliznik.org.uk/Bulgaria/costume/

http://www.eliznik.org.uk/Bulgaria/costume/aprons-aprons.htm

http://www.everyculture.com/Bo-Co/Bulgaria.html

http://www.omda.bg/public/engl/ethnography/male_costumes_en.htm

http://www.protobulgarians.com/English%20translations/Bulgarian%20history%20in%20English/Bulgarian%20ethnography%201994.pdf

http://www.thelovelyplanet.net/traditional-dress-of-bulgaria/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria

 

Pictures

1) Single apron style of costume – http://i1.wp.com/www.thelovelyplanet.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Heather-Kashmera.jpg

2) Double apron – http://www.thelovelyplanet.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Eli-Wolf.jpg

3) Soukman – http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-An8YujnkSio/UF1OZBTGAOI/AAAAAAAAG-0/3HvtvkP8W4E/s1600/022.jpg

4) Saya – http://www.shevitsa.com/Files/Nacionalni-kostumi-aksesoari/Genski-kostumi/oshte-genski-kostumi/pirinska-saq-1.1.jpg

5) Bridal costume – https://40.media.tumblr.com/d57373143d8fd15758c55c40d495c19d/tumblr
_o0dsnxVn9r1utuge7o1_500.jpg

6) A white kalpak – http://nosii.com/userfiles/productlargeimages/product_775.jpg

7) White costume (belodreshnik) – http://www.eliznik.org.uk/Bulgaria/photos/Pleven-calus-4-6-00.JPG

8) Black costume (chernodreshnik) – http://www.omda.bg/public/images_more/Ethnographic_Museums/
costumes/m_costume_early20CChesnigirovo_EMP.jpg

 

9) A bridegroom’s costume showing the transition between black and white costumes – http://www.omda.bg/
public/images_more/Ethnographic_Museums/costumes/mens_wedding_costume_sec_half_19C.jpg

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