Bulgaria: A young Bulgarian couple

Front view
Front view

General description: Handmade young Bulgarian man and woman wearing summer clothes (a courting couple?)

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


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


The man is wearing a version of the more modern “black” Bulgarian costume (chernodreshnik). It consists of a shirt, trousers and waistcoat. The high-collared white cotton shirt (riza) has long 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 (dzhamadan) trimmed with black braid (rick-rack 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 narrow dark blue trousers with black rick-rack 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 (tsarvouli) with pointed toes. On his head is a typical cylindrical 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 chemise (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 (tsarvouli) are similar to those of the man but the toes are more pointed. In her hair, the woman is wearing a headdress of four roses and leaves made of material.


Man - side view
Man – side view


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.

Source(s) of information


(1.4.1 & 1.4.2)


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