Poland: Young couple from Krakow

Front view
Front view

General description: A young unmarried couple from Krakow


Man 15 (with feather) x 8 x 4.5 cm

Woman 12 x 7 x 5 cm

Unpainted circular wooden base 8 x 8 x 0.3 cm

Date when acquired 2010s

Original Date Unknown but in internet similar dolls are given as “vintage”

Source The base has the following words under it: Spoldzielnia Pracy R.L. I A. im. St. Wyspianskiego w Krakowie. Laki Regionale Sww 2826-121-064-905-W, Lalka pary h-12, Cena umowna, Hnad made, wzor zatwierdzony przez EKK. It also has the Cepelia logo (see below).

Present from Fritz W.; found at a flea market in the Bochum region.


BacK view
BacK view


Handmade dolls with clay or papier maché (?) heads and painted features. The rigid arms and legs and most probably the body are made of plastic. The dolls are standing together on a circle of wood

The woman’s long blonde hair has a central parting and is woven into two long plaits reaching down to her waist. The man’s hair is brown and straight and is cut to be level with his chin.


View from the right
View from the right


The young woman or girl is wearing a stiffened wide red skirt down to below her knees. It has roses painted on it in pink, white and yellow, with green leaves. Her apron is made of white lace, with a pattern of flowers woven into it. Under her skirt is a stiffened white petticoat and white underpants. She has a long plain white cotton blouse on with ruffs at the cuffs and around her neck. The back of the ruff is decorated with two ribbons tied in bows and hanging down to the hem of her skirt. One is pink and the other a golden yellow. Her black bodice is decorated with a pattern of red and gold circles and lines. Around her neck are three loops, possibly mimicking coral necklaces. She has a floral headdress around her head. On her feet are (painted on) boots reaching midway up her calves.

Her companion is wearing the typical four-cornered red krakuska hat, with a band of black around its edge. On its left side, it is decorated with a feather and two long tassels (red and yellow) that hang down to his waist. His costume consists of red and white striped trousers tucked into his boots (like those of the girl) and a long-sleeved white cotton shirt. The collar is closed by a red tassel. His sleeveless waistcoat is made of black felt with red trimming around its edges. It is held in place by a reddish brown leather-like belt with a gold buckle and decorated with a loop of leather with a row of metal rings attached to it. There is a row of five French knots embroidered in orange thread on each side of the front, with three dark green tassels. The bottom of the waistcoat is split into four flaps, two at the front and two at the back.




View from the left
View from the left

Background information

Krakow is considered to be the genuine cultural hub of Poland with its culture dating back to 900 BCE. The men from the Krakow region traditionally wear a blue waistcoat with stunning embroidery and tassels, striped trousers made of fine linen or cotton (tucked into the boots) and a belt with metal rings attached to it. The shirts are usually sewn from white linen. Very rarely were they adorned with white embroidery. The shirt’s only adornment was a red ribbon or a silver pin with coral. The adult men wore various types of hats, the most decorative being the krakuska, a cap ornamented with long red or colourful ribbons tied so the ends hung down over the shoulder and peacock feathers. Another type of hat, the calendr, was made of black felt and yet another was made of white wool.

The female attire worn in the vicinity of Krakow had many variations and options. The woman’s costume included a white blouse, a waistcoat that was embroidered and beaded on both the front and back, a full skirt, an apron, a red coral bead necklace, and lace-up boots. The top summer skirts were made of silk, linen, or batiste (light linen or cotton fabric), while the winter skirts were woollen. At the turn of the 19th/20th century, the skirts tended to be factory made. The long and wide skirts were either floral or plain green, blue, red or white. On special occasions, the outer skirt was made of richly embroidered white satin. The shawls were mainly red and made of tulle, silk or wool. They were decorated with floral motifs. The most commonly worn shoes were laced black boots with a high heel.

The type and embellishment of the women’s headdress depended upon the season and marital status. Unmarried women and girls sometimes wore a flower wreath with ribbons on their heads, while married women wore a white headscarf. The most important and yet most valuable headwear — bonnets or scarves —were first worn by women once their bride’s veil was removed.

Cepelia Foundation: The aim of this foundation is to protect, organise, develop and spread the folk and artistic handicraft, art, and artistic industry in Poland. The Cepelia Foundation undertakes actions aimed at safeguarding the conditions for creating new and cultivating traditional values of the material culture of the Polish nation, preserving the cultural identity of the nation, and taking part in the creation of the contemporary Polish culture. In 2009, it celebrated its 60th birthday.

Source(s) of information

thelovelyplanet.net/traditional-dress-of-poland-truly-symbolic-in-the-polish-culture/ (but there is now a virus warning for this site!)

(1.15.1 & 1.15.2 )


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