General description: A typical corn husk doll known as šúpolienky (or also šúpolky or šúpolové bábiky) with a broom.
Dimensions 11 x 5.5 x 4.5 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in Bochum. Present form Fritz W.
The body, clothing and hands of the doll are all made of corn husks. Her head and neck is made of wood. Her brown hair is made of wool.
She has a long broad-skirted dress with large leg of lamb sleeves. A scarf is tied around her head.
She is holding a broom made of twigs in her hands.
Slovakian corn husk dolls are traditional dolls made of dry corn husks (in Slovak šúpolie). They were originally made around the 1950s and their purpose was – and still is – to be sold as souvenirs. The average height is ca. 14 cm, though occasionally bigger or smaller ones are also produced. They usually show villagers during work. Sometimes other materials are also added, such as twigs, baste or cloth.
The corn husk doll is a Native American doll made out of the dried leaves or “husk” of a corn (maize) cob. The North-eastern Native Americans (especially the Penobscot, Oneida and Iroquois tribes) probably have been making them since the domestication of corn more than a thousand years ago.
The brittle dried cornhusks become soft if soaked in water and produce sturdy dolls. Both male and female dolls are made using the corn silk tassel for hair. The feet and body are stuffed with leaves and tied while the arms and legs are made from braided or rolled husks. Dolls measure anywhere between four and ten inches tall. Sometimes a face is drawn, or red dots are painted for cheeks; but more often than not the doll’s face is left blank.
The dolls are often dressed in cornhusks, animal hide or cloth but some are made without clothing. Personal equipment is produced for many dolls, and this helps children to practice preparing the things needed for everyday life. Female dolls would be given cradle boards, hoes, sewing kits or other women’s things, while the males would be provided with bows and arrows, canoe paddles and warrior’s gear.
In addition to their use for amusement (toys), some cornhusk dolls are used in sacred healing ceremonies. A type of Iroquois cornhusk doll was made in response to a dream. The doll was then discarded, put back to earth to carry away the evil of the dream.
Like the Motanka from the Slavic cultures (see 1.26.1 Ukraine Motanka) Corn husk dolls do not have faces, and there are a number of traditional explanations for this. One legend is that the Spirit of Corn, one of the Three Sisters, made a doll out of her husks to entertain children. The doll had a beautiful face, and began to spend less time with children and more time contemplating her own loveliness. As a result of her vanity, the doll’s face was taken away. Another reason is that like with the Motanka, a face on the doll would give it a soul, which is frowned upon.
Making corn husk dolls was adopted by early European settlers in North America (16th century onwards). Corn husk doll making is now actively practiced in the United States as a link to Native American culture and the arts and crafts of the settlers.
Making husk-dolls is also a tradition of Transylvania. The dolls symbolise the fertility of the land and their inhabitants in the Transylvanian Hungarian culture. The tradition is still enjoying popularity in Transylvania as well as the whole area of Hungary. Children are shown how to make husk dolls on craft programmes. Professional dolls are sold in tourist shops and farmer’s markets. Corn husk weaving is also thought of as a profession; a diploma is available for adults who want to make a living of it.
There are corn husk dolls from Slovenia showing villagers doing their daily chores. They have been made since the 1950s to be sold to tourists.
Dimensions Doll: 17.5 x 8 x 6 cm; base; 6.2 x 6.2 x 0.4 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Originally from Poland. The label on the base says: SPOLDZIELNIA PRACY R.L.iA. im. At Wyspiaskiego-Kraków, LALKI REGIONALE, SWW 2826-121-064-905-W, Lalka ludowna pojedyncza h-18, gat. 1 Cena umowna, HAND MADE, wzór zatwierdzony przez EKK. Additionally, Góralka has been written by hand.
Flea market in Bochum area; present from Fritz W.
The head seems to be made out of papier but the legs, hands and body are of plastic. Her features are painted on. Her long blonde hair is drawn back from the forehead to form a long plait down to below her hips.
She is standing on a round unvarnished wooden base.
Her costume consists of a skirt, bodice, blouse and large shawl. Her skirt is made of stiffened green cotton and is plaited with roses in pink, white and red, with green leaves. Her stiffened white cotton petticoat is slightly shorter than the skirt and is trimmed with lace. Her red cotton bodice has lappets cut into the lower edge. The edges of the bodice are painted with a yellow band. The front of the bodice has a flower design on both side. The centre of the flower is yellow while the petals are white. Many green leaves finish off the pattern. A large bow made of woven pink and yellow threads is tied at the front of the bodice and the long ends hang down the front of the skirt (they are a little frayed nowadays). The rounded neck of the bodice is covered by the frilled collar of the white cotton blouse. The blouse sleeves are long and have frills at the cuffs. The large yellow cotton shawl over her shoulders is almost as long as her skirt. It is painted with the same rose design as the skirt along the bottom edge and on the back.
Her white socks and brown shoes are painted on.
Around her neck are three chains of red beads, mimicking the amber beads so popular in Poland.
General description: Man in the traditional dress of the Goral
Dimensions Doll: 12.5 x 9 x 6 cm; base; 6 x 6 x 0.9 cm
Date when acquired 2009
Original Date Unknown
Source Originally from Poland. Under the base, the label says “Lalki Regionalne, Góral Zakopianski, Symbol K.C. Cepelia 20-2/66,Wzór C40/04, Spóldezienia Pracy, Przemyslu Artystyczn…., Im. Stansslawa Wyspianskieg….., Kraków, ul. Katarzyny 2 (the …. show where the label is damaged)
Flea market in Göttingen.
Papier maché head and hands. The body and arms seem to be padded wire. The features are painted on. The doll has short auburn hair and long sideboards.
He is standing on a round base made of pale wood.
He is wearing a suit made of thick white woollen material. He is wearing his jacket with only one arm in the exceeding long sleeve. The cuffs and hems of the jacket are lined with a green basting. The jacket is embroidered with a line of red stem stitch and a green zig-zag around the neck. At the front is a floral design in green and red. The matching trousers have a black band running down the outer leg seams (typical of Goral trousers). The front of trousers is embroidered with a geometrical design in black and red (parzenica embroidery). His white linen shirt is closed at the back and has a high collar. The sleeves are puffed and gathered in to tight cuffs. Around his waist is a typical wide mountaineer’s leather belt with a geometrical silver decoration (slightly damaged) on the front. His shoes are the typical flat leather shoes (kierpce).
On his head is the black felt hat with a low crown and wide brim. Around the crown is a band of braid in red and white.
The ethnographic (or ethnic) group of the Gorals or Gorales (literally “highlanders”) and other West Slavic peoples of the Carpathians show little northern, Germanic, influence, as opposed to other regions of Poland. They have been grouped with the Hutsuls (of either Romanian or White Croat descent) in the south-eastern corner of Poland (now Ukraine). In the 19th century, Polish scholars viewed the Gorals as being linguistically close to the Poles, but having close ties with Slovak folk culture. It was noted that Gorals’ social and economic life resembled that of Vlach shepherd culture.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Gorals settled the upper streams of the Kysuca and the Orava rivers, and part of northern Spiš (Slovakia). These territories were part of the northern Kingdom of Hungary. The mountainous regions were settled with pastoral Slavs with the “Vlach law”. In 1803–19, Gorals migrated to Bukovina (nowadays in Rumania).
Nowadays, they are primarily found in their traditional area of southern Poland [the geographical region of Podhale of the Tatra Mountains and parts of the Beskids (Cieszyn Silesia, Silesian Beskids, Żywiec Beskids)], Slovakia [in 4 separate groups: in northern Spiš (34 villages subdivided in two groups), Orava and Kysuce (2 villages) and smaller groups in 7 other enclave villages in northern Slovakia], and in the region of Cieszyn Silesia in the Czech Republic (Silesian Gorals). There is also a significant Goral diaspora in the area of Bukovina in western Ukraine and in northern Romania, as well as in Chicago, the seat of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America.
The men’s costume consisted of a linen shirt, woollen coat (cucha), trousers, sheepskin waistcoat, hat, highlanders’ leather shoes (kierpce) and a belt. The woollen coat was fastened with buttons or hooks and eyes and tied high on the torso with coloured ribbons. Below the tie was embroidery. The pants were tailored from white hand-woven cloth, ornamented with stripes running along the external stitching. The men wore a typical black hat with a low rounded crown and brim.
An impressive part of the costume is the wide leather belt adorned with metal tied around the waist. This is typical of the mountaineer belts worn in the Carpathian Mountains.
The parzenica embroidery dates back to the mid-19th century. Initially they were simple string loops, used for reinforcing cuts in the front of cloth trousers. They had practical functions and protected the cloth from fraying. The modern-style parzenica came from those tailors who began using red or navy blue string, simultaneously increasing the number of loops. Later the appliqué design was replaced with embroidery. Using woollen yarn allowed the parzenica to become more colourful and eventually it become a stand-alone trouser ornamentation, developed by talented tailors and embroiderers.
The women’s costume consisted of a shirt with white embroidery on the collar and cuffs; colourful, flower-patterned skirts along with an ornamented and embroidered corset; and a sheepskin waistcoat in winter. Black laced, high-heeled half boots. Heads were covered with headscarves tied under the chin. When outside, a huge woollen shawl was worn on the shoulders.
Bodices / Corsets
In the second half of the 19th century it became fashionable in the Podhale region to adorn corsets with depictions of thistle and edelweiss. These motifs were the most popular in the early 20th century. When “Kraków style” came into fashion, the highlanders of the Podhale region began ornamenting their corsets with shiny sequins and glass beads.
For centuries, clasps have been an important element of Polish highlanders’ traditional costumes. Originally used for fastening shirts, they fell out of use when buttons became popular, remaining only as ornaments. In the early 20th century, they were already rare, used only by senior and young shepherds, who grazed their sheep on mountain pastures. In the 1920s and the 1930s they were considered collector’s items and sought after by tourists. In Zakopane, they were often worn as ornaments for the “cucha” (outerwear), sweaters or occasionally on leather bags. Nowadays, the clasps are a popular element of highlanders from the Podhale region, but the way they are worn differs from the original one: instead of fastening shirts they are usually attached to them or sewed on.
General description: Young unmarried Polish woman with waistcoat (see below) and headdress indicating that she may come from Krakow.
Dimensions 39 x 22 x 17 cm
Date when acquired 2000s
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in the Bochum area. Present from Fritz W.
Plastic doll with movable eyes, arms and legs. Her long white blonde hair is parted in the middle and tied in two plaits at the back going down to her waist.
Her costume is made up of a skirt, blouse, waistcoat, boots and headdress. The wide knee-length skirt is made of red brocade decorated with blue and white flowers. Her white cotton petticoat has lace around the edging, which peeps out from under the skirt. She also has white cotton underpants on. Her white cotton blouse has puffed sleeves down to the elbows with a wide cuff of dark cream lace. The same lace has been used to make a round collar that extends to the top of her arms. The black, armless waistcoat is decorated with embroidery and sequins and gold braid. The skirt of the waistcoat is cut into six panels (lappets). Around the edges of the neck, armholes, front and lappets is a line of red stem stitch, with a row of silver cross stitch. Gold braid runs down the front of the waistcoat, while large flowers done in red daisy stitch and white straight stitch decorate the front and back. Dark green leaves have been embroidered too. Each of the sequins is held in place with a red bead. The waistcoat is laced up the front with a peach-coloured ribbon.
Her high laced boots are made of dark tan leather.
Her headdress is formed by a triangle with a point over the middle of her forehead. The triangle is tied in place with a light brownish silk band with 5 ribbons down the back in light brown (2), white (2) and yellow (1) silk. The red material of the triangle is covered in small rosettes made of the same ribboning material, with a single rosette made of green in the centre and a two-pronged green rosette sticking out at the top with silver thread between the prongs.
Around her neck is a choker made of a double row of red beads.
The waistcoat (Gorset), is the most variable part of the Krakow costume. It is of the standard Malopolska (Southern/Lesser Poland) cut, with narrow shoulder straps, lacing or hooking closing the front, and usually finished off with lappets at the waist.
General description: Handmade doll dressed in the rich clothing of 16th century Polish/Hungarian/Lithuanian aristocracy.
Dimensions 27 x 17 x 12 cm
Date when acquired Ca. 2004
Original Date Unknown
Source Flea market in Göttingen
Papier maché hands and head. Arms, legs and body appear to be padding over wire. His features and beard are painted on. His hair is hidden under his hat.
He is standing on a round wooden base, to which he is fixed by wire staples.
His high-crowned brimless black felt hat is typical of the Hungarian-style papakha or astrakhan hat. It has narrow feathers attached to the left side and a badge made of a metal oblong surrounded gathered red material (like the buttoning on his coat).
His full-length red coat (żupan) is made of a thick red woollen material. It has a large brown fur collar lying on his shoulders, This coat has long sleeves down to the hem of the coat but his arms are inserted through armholes at the level of the shoulder so that the rich red and black brocade sleeves of his knee-length jacket are freely visible. The żupan is lined with black cotton, which is used to hem the front panels of the coat from the lower hem to the waist. There are five buttons on the coat, three still have the gathered red material around three sides (the other two have lost this decoration); however the coat is not meant to be closed at the front. The żupan is the typical male attire from the beginning of the 16th to the first half of the 18th century and was worn by almost all males of the noble social class in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This type of coat still survives as a part of the Polish and Ukrainian national costume.
His high necked red & black brocade jacket has a high neck with a stand-up collar. The jacket is closed to the waist and then is open at the front of its skirts. The long sleeves are broad around the upper arms running down to narrow cuffs. The cuffs and collar of a white cotton shirt can be seen poking out from under the jacket.
His tight trousers are more like leggings and his painted white boots are modelled from papier maché.
Stephan Batory’s full title on his coronation (1576) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Duke of Ruthenia, Prussia, Masovia, Samogitia, Kiev Land, Volhynia, Podlachia and Livonia, as well as Prince of Transylvania.
He was born September 27, 1533, in Somlyo, Transylvania, to the local branch of the ancient noble Bathory family, now extinct, but originally almost contemporary with the Hungarian monarchy. He became King of Poland through his marriage with Anna Jagiellonka, the sole heir to the Crown of Poland. He also at the same time became ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the largest and one of the most populous states in Europe in the 16th century. He was buried in Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, Saint Mary’s Crypt in 1588.
General description: Hand-made wooden doll with a high-crowned brimless (torque-like) hat reminiscent of the hats (czolka) worn by women from Kurpie, though their hats have embroidery on them and this is unadorned.
Dimensions 8 x 3 x 4 cm
Date when acquired 1985
Original Date 1985
Source Warsaw, Poland.
Present from Danuta (a friend from my German course)
The body is made of a wooden cone with a wooden ball for the head. Her features are painted on.
The doll’s costume consists of a long skirt made of red silky braid and a band of dark green velvet around the hem. The red colour indicates that she is a Northern Kurpie. The white lace apron (kitlów) is almost as long as her skirt. Her blouse is made of white cotton, stiffened to form arms. The ends of each sleeve are gathered by a red thread. The front of the blouse has an inset of white lace. The doll has a piece of black velvet at the front to form a bodice. Around her neck is a choker made of red thread.
On the dolls head is a high-crowned brimless green hat. Lace edging peeps out of the rim of the hat at the front.
The Kurpie region one of a number of ethnic regions in Poland and is located on a lowland plain called the Mazovian Region (Mazowsze), which was once covered over by two forests known as the Puszcza Zielona (the Green Wilderness) and the Puszcza Biała (the White Wilderness). This people of this region have their unique traditional customs, such as its own types of traditional costume, traditional dance, and distinctive type of architecture and livelihoods. The typical shoes made of bast fibres gave these people their name Kurpie.
Although their costumes were similar, the Kurpies in the north had a different type of costume than the Kurpies in the southern part of the region. For example, in the north, women wore red skirts with a green vest over a white linen blouse with some trim and always a necklace made of amber. The vest came down to the waist and had two lappets on the sides that came down lower, usually to the tops of the leg. The skirt often has elaborate folds at the back, but is flat along the front. If stripes were added to the skirt it was always in contrasting colours, so green stripes on a red skirt and red on a green. In the colder months a highly embroidered jacket would be worn, but the sleeves always stopped about half way down so that the embroidery on the shirt sleeves could still be seen.
For holidays, unmarried young women wore special hats which were black and rectangular with rounded corners called czolka (pronounced cholka). It was trimmed with black velvet and decorated with sequins, beads, and other haberdashery. On the side was placed a garland of flowers and down the back hung colourful ribbons. Usually when wearing this hat women would braid their hair in pigtails.
Kurpie men in the north wore long brown coats tied around the waist with a red sash. They wore white linen shirts and white trousers which were fastened at the bottom with straps from the Kurpie shoes which they wore. Men from the north can be distinguished from men in the south since men in the north wear dark brown top hats and men from the south wear small black caps.
There is some variation in the costume. For example, a man’s trousers could be grey or white, and women might wear a red or a white blouse.
General description: A young married woman from Krakow
Woman 24 x 14 x 9 cm
Unpainted oblong wooden base 9 x 6 x 1.6 cm
Date when acquired 2016
Original Date 02/1989
Source The base has the following words under it: Tradycja Spoldzielnia Pracy WYTWÓRCÓW; REKODTIELA, LUDOWEGA, I ATYSTYCZNEGO, Czechowice – Dz. O/Opole, ul. Reymonta 17. Autor C-2604, Symbol S020-117/87 Nazwa Krakowianka, gatunke I, Data prod. 02/1989 Cena umowna, 4800, wzor zatw. przez TAKK-TEKK.
It also has the Cepelia logo (see the couple from Krakow for more information)
Present from Fritz W.; found at a flea market in the Göttingen area.
Handmade doll with clay or papier maché (?) head and painted features. Her arms are made of padded wire, while the legs and most probably the body are made of clay or papier maché. Her hands seem to be carved from wood and painted white. The doll is standing on an oblong block of wood.
The woman’s fine straight blonde hair has a central parting, but is hidden under her scarf. When the back of the scarf is lifted a little pony tail can be seen.
The young woman is wearing a wide skirt down to mid-calf. It was originally red but has faded to a pink colour apart from a few places at the front, the back and on the inside of the skirt. It has flowers painted on it in blue, white, yellow and black, with green leaves. The lower edge of the skirt has a row of white sequins sewn on it. Her apron is made of white tulle, with three white zigzags sewn 2 cm above its lower hem. The three sides of the apron have a scalloped white lace edging sewn onto it. The waist of the apron is held in place by a belt made of two layers of stiffened cotton, white on top and pink underneath. The lower part of the belt is incised to give a crenelated edge. Under her skirt is a white cotton petticoat with white lace on the hem. Her white cotton underpants are knee-length and trimmed with lace and white embroidery. She has a long plain white cotton blouse on with lacy ruffs at the cuffs and around her neck.
Her beige bodice is decorated with a pattern of red and white beads with pink zigzags around the neck line, armholes, down the front and around the back in a U-form. A gold braid is sewn in place around the neck and armholes and a U-shape on the back with a white zigzag. Three pink tassels decorate each side of the front of the bodice. Around her neck is a coral necklace with two loops. On her head, she is wearing a scarf covering her hair in a light pink material similar to that of the skirt. A row of white sequins are sewn around the front of the scarf.
On her feet are (painted on) black boots reaching midway up her calves. White stocking are painted on above them
See Poland: young couple form Krakow. Her scarf is an indication that she is a married woman.